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Digital nomads: Smart City trends that will power their future

Microsoft365 for Business
Microsoft for Business

Did you know that travel is poised to drive significant change in how we work as a culture? Thanks to the explosion in freely accessable WiFi, big data analytics, and mobile technologies, the “digital nomad” approach to work (a remote worker who also travels while working) is about to go mainstream. And you and your community can be a part of it.

As you search for your first travel destination as a digital nomad, be sure to check out the proposed host city to see if they are implementing some of the technologies below. If so, you’ll have a much smoother and productive experience.

While Smart City technologies have helped birth this new approach to work, there are still many exciting opportunities that state and local governments can implement to make the digital nomad approach to the workplace a vibrant – and very profitable – part of their economies.

If you’re in state and local government, or an interested bystander, I suggest you get familiar with the technologies involved. From city operations and public safety to transportation and utilities, it’s time for communities to actively support digital nomads. By doing so you can also help your permanent citizens become tech-savy and overcome any digital inequities.

Digital nomads and technology

Digital nomads are, by nature, creative and curious. They tend to have high incomes – and they spend it to experience the world around them. Plus, they make great citizens because they have a natural desire to learn and grow – and make the world a better place.

That’s why state and local governments can benefit by including digital nomads as part of their strategies for tourism and economic development. If you’re in government, you can even leverage some of your existing smart city technologies to grow your community’s reputation as a digital nomad hub. A few examples include:

  1. Use of city-wide digital platforms that can gather, aggregate, and analyze data from a variety of sources, resulting in cities that are smarter, more resilient – and as a result more accessable for digital nomads. 
  2. Development of Connected Intersections as hubs for digital nomads and related businesses.
  3. Use of computing at the edge to process data at the source for faster and more accurate impacts. This is 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 enable digital nomads better engage with and be productive members of their temporary communities. Plus, it would gift usable data back to their host cities.
  5. Public safety vehicles as digital hubs to scale mission fabric in real time (via ruggedized routers). This allows government agencies to respond faster and more accurately to emergencies and natural disasters experienced by digital nomads as well as citizens.
  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 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.
  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 greater percentage of their income on luxury experiences than the average citizen.
  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. 

If you’re interested in exploring these technologies further, I suggest a quick trip Cisco’s state and local government site. There you can find the latest information on the innovative technologies to support digital nomads and power economic growth in your community.

Every day, wireless technologies are enabling a better quality of life for digital nomads and the communities they support, both through their spending and their attitude towards the world around them. 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 workers and travellers.

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

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