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Digital nomads: The top 10 trends that will power their future

Did you know that travel is poised to drive significant change in how we work, play and learn? Thanks to the explosion in freely accessable WiFi, big data analytics and mobility, historians may someday look back on this year as the fulcrum upon which technology and workers fully meshed to create more vibrant existince: the digital nomad.

So it’s critical that those who lead the state and local areas that will be the temporary homes of these nomads understand and integrate these technology shifts proactively. From their city operations and public safety to transportation and utilities, it’s time for communities to start turning aggressively towards big data analytics and real-time video/information sharing solutions to power digital nomads and their communities. If not, they may be left behind.

Digital nomads and technology

Digital nomads are creative and curious. They tend to have high incomes – and the desire to spend them to experience the world around them. Plus, they make great citizens. That’s why state and local governments should start focusing on the following trends to help support the growth of digital nomads in their communities:

  1. Introduction of city-wide digital platforms that can gather, aggregate, and analyze data from a variety of sources, resulting in cities that are smarter and more resilient. 
  2. Development of Connected Intersections as test beds and launching points for Smart City initiatives, including enhanced technologies the support digital nomads.
  3. Use of computing at the edge to process data at the source for faster and more accurate impacts. Critical for wanderers as they explore their new temporary homes.
  4. Merging of GIS, big data, and analytics to create real-time “living maps” to model community behavior. This would give digital nomads a virtual key to the city, helping them engage with and be productive members of their temporary communities.
  5. Public safety vehicles as digital hubs to scale mission fabric in real time (via ruggedized routers), allowing government to respond faster and more accurately to emergencies and natural disasters. This will include greater deployment of mobile, real-time video and data sharing. 
  6. Growth in connected vehicle capabilities, especially real-time data sharing with government. This is being driven in part by NHTSA suggestions for Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communications. This is key to integrating the nomadic workers mobile technologies into the broader mesh networks they encounter in their travels.
  7. Greater real-time citizen interaction with government through personal wireless devices. This will be driven by an enhanced user experience as a result of new government-citizen collaborative tools, including real-time video and data sharing and base-level artificial intelligence. This will help nomadic workers connect quickly for key government services.
  8. Linking autonomous vehicles with government sensors/networks to gather critical data, rather than relying so strongly on onboard sensors. 
  9. Increased focus on human-centric technologies via app development by both the public and private sector. This will greatly enhance transparency of government-gathered data, leading to more trust in local government. It would also spur competition among communities to attract nomadic workers, who usually have very high paying jobs and spend a great deal of their income on luxury experiences on a daily basis.
  10. Adoption of smart city requirements into municipal codes. From the number of trees and shrubs to square footage of glass fronting streets, communities already require certain minimums for new construction. As WiFi continues to grow in recognition as a necessary utility, minimums for bandwidth, access, security, and linkage into a larger city-wide fabric will become standard code. 

Every day, technologies are enabling a better quality of life for digital nomads and the communities they support through their spending. Through creativity and persistence (and a whole lot of passion), digital nomads are blazing a trail to a whole new way of life for future generations of travellers.

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Also check out our other articles on technology and travel, including Smart Cities and Travel.

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