Small towns as testing ground for future technology


Drone or drone used in agriculture

The infrastructure for the future will be built in the rural areas first. Photo by viya via Pixabay.

Necessity breeds innovation and rural people have always been innovative. Working with limited resources makes us more creative thinkers. This is one of the reasons why small towns and rural areas are the perfect test grounds for the future. The future technology infrastructure will be the result of rural trials.

Drones and UAVs – perfect for rural areas

I just read an article in which an urban planning expert said drone deliveries would never happen because the sky above cities is too crowded.

Then I saw articles on rural areas currently delivering drones. Medical supplies such as blood and perishable drugs are being transported by drone to remote areas of Africa and an island community far from the First Nations Islands in Canada is receiving supplies and mail by drone starting in the spring.

Large open rural areas are the smartest place to test all kinds of unmanned aerial systems. Agriculture already dominates the first practical uses of UAVs and UAS.

Rural testing offers businesses an opportunity to learn, experiment and understand the rules for wider implementation.

Autonomous cars make sense in small towns

Urban experts write about driverless cars and their state of disorder, and people hate them because they block traffic in the city.

Rural people have been using autonomous vehicles in mining and agriculture for years. In Australia, seniors in the area's cities are enthusiastic about testing driverless shuttles to help them get around after they stop driving. Imagine all the means by which autonomous vehicles could integrate in small towns, much less disturbing than big cities.

The establishment of support infrastructure for autonomous vehicles will be easier in small compact cities. There is less land to cover and governments and local leaders are easier to access for approvals.

Again, testing in smaller cities is easier to manage and provides real information that can guide a more successful and less disruptive implementation. This is another compelling reason to fund and accelerate modernization projects for broadband and cellular services in rural areas.

Smart cities take forever, smart villages are much easier

Another recent article explained that the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities are taking a long time to get here. That reminded me of this quote from Ashok Das, who has returned to India with a decade of experience in the US semiconductor industry.

"Changing the behavior of consumers in a big city is a major problem," he says. "It will take decades to build smart cities, but I can create thousands of smart villages during this time."

Smart villages have already been recognized as a legitimate academic research area and Finland is launching the first European network of smart villages.

What researchers and businesses are learning in smart villages will create smarter strategies for smart cities.

These are just a few highlights. All kinds of technological trials are underway in rural areas. We help put in place the infrastructure, techniques and rules for wider adoption.

Are you interested in seeing how small towns play an important role in the future? Join SaveYour.Town for a 30-minute video titled Seeing the Future of the Small Town.

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About Becky McCray

Becky launched Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share stories and ideas of building businesses and rural communities with other small businessmen. She and her husband own an Alva, Oklahoma liquor store and a small ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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