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Have you ever wondered how Google is able to predict how long it will take you to get to your destination almost accurately? Or wondered how some radio stations share information on where to avoid because of traffic congestion? Well, it usually because of you and a feature on your smartphone. Remember in November, we talked a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how they are used in our everyday activities, this is one of such.

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Internet of Things is an ecosystem of connected device, that is, it is basically connecting devices with a switch (on/off) to the Internet. This concept plays a critical role in traffic management, water distribution and every other aspect that make for a smart city. Smart cities reduce the discomfort people who live in the city face and helps reduce all forms of pollution – air, noise and water; as well as create an environment that is more productive, functional, comfortable and safe for everyone.

For a while, I always switched off the location button on my phone because I felt it was not necessary or relevant except I needed to transfer files via Wi-Fi on Xender or send my location to a friend in order to know where I am. I never thought I could be a part of a big solution helping people know what is actually going on on a road. Google through the Google Map provides information on routes to a location even though you’ve never been there. At times when there is a traffic jam at certain locations, it also shows you some alternative routes to take and how long it will take for you to get to your destination.

Google map is able to provide this information using real-time data sent by sensors and smartphones. Earlier, traffic data was gotten from traffic sensors which were installed by government transport agencies or private companies that compile traffic data.

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However, since 2009, Google started crowdsourcing information to improve traffic predictions it made. By turning on your Google maps with your GPS location enabled, your phone sends data anonymously to Google to know how fast your car is moving. Getting this kind of data from other android phone users on the same route helps Google accurately predict how traffic is on that route and then sends it back using coloured lines. The green, yellow and red lines on the Google map is used to indicate a free road, slow-moving and heavily congested traffic respectively.

Today’s last word is a gentle reminder to cut yourself some slack every now and then, the world is hard enough, don’t be too hard on yourself. Read this quote that Saint Francis de Sales said:

Have patience with all things but first with yourself.

Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human bring. You are perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.”

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This article was first published on 3rd March 2020


Aanuoluwapo Olajide is a freelance writer who believes that words are fundamental blocks and are the force of life and death. She is a tech enthusiast, fashion designer and a lover of words.

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