When thinking about modern engineering, it can be all too easy to be bogged down in the physical structures that people put together. While many of the world’s buildings and other architectural feats are very impressive, there is an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that people are all too quick to ignore. Software sits at the heart of our cities and towns, powering your life in ways that you may never expect. Of course, though, how does this all work, and where does software touch the real world?
Optimization is incredibly important in busy cities. Trucks, cars, and pedestrians all have to work around each other to get where they need to go, and it can all take a lot longer if mistakes are made along the way. For example, traffics lights are controlled by complex software systems that are able to monitor road congestion levels and change their patterns to make sure that areas with more cars are getting more green lights. Software can help to reduce bottlenecks for truck drivers, taxi companies, and other logistical businesses that need to get from place to place in as little time as possible. This is changing the way that roads work for the better.
People often joke about how you are always on camera when you are in busy places, and this isn’t too far from the truth. Most cities and towns are filled with CCTV cameras, but these devices are far more complex than they used to be. For example, modern CCTV systems can track faces, detect things like backpacks and cigarettes, and even track people for miles without a single human seeing them. This can be automated to the degree that operators are no longer needed to monitor their systems. Instead, they can be told when something needs to be checked by a person, with things like mobile notifications making the whole thing smoother.
It’s hard to ignore software in cities and towns without thinking about the internet. There are countless devices in places like this that need to be connected to the web, from traffic lights to payphones, and they all use software to get their work done. Much of this happens completely behind the scenes, with most people being completely unaware that they are walking through data wherever they go. This has proven particularly useful for buses, with many cities having bus stops that can give accurate estimates for arrival times that are based on a vehicle’s actual location.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to get started on building an understanding of what software touches in the modern world. A lot of people don’t realise that they are constantly using and interacting with software, and this can make it a little daunting when you have this revelation. Of course, though, these tools are usually designed to do nothing but their job.