A smart city is one that uses sensor-driven data collection and powerful analytics to automate and orchestrate a wide range of services for optimal use of resources, lowering costs and lessened environmental impact for more sustainable development. Disruptive technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) are major drivers in transforming any urban city into a smart city, enabled by the smart use of data to address problems and provide solutions.
The increase in population creates the need to rediscover the way we live, and build better environments that are intelligent, efficient and sustainable. Sure, the adoption of IoT technologies in smart cities is a matter of convenience. But at the same time, they are capable of so much more. Like building a smart economy and governance, improving infrastructure, enhancing safety, cutting energy usage and cost, and reducing environmental impact.
According to McKinsey, three layers work together to make a smart city. First is the technology base, which includes a critical mass of smartphones and sensors connected by high-speed communication networks. The second layer consists of specific applications, translating raw data into alerts, insight, and action requires the right tools, and this is where technology providers and app developers come in. The third layer is usage by cities, companies, and the public. Many applications succeed only if they are widely adopted and manage to change behavior.
Why Do We Need Smart Cities?
With the rising world population coupled with the problem of scarcity of resources, it is imperative to use technology like AI and IoT to plan smart cities that can tackle several issues in a coexistent society.
Smart cities are designed for the most conducive utilization of space and resources along with an efficient and optimum distribution of benefits. It also aims at increasing connectivity at various levels among citizens, as well as between the administration and population. The system can mitigate several redundancies in the present system and save time and money. Smart cities also aim at solving the problem of pollution and are more environmentally friendly, energy-saving, and focus on sustainability.
Advantages Of A Smart City
Improved Quality of Life – Similar to how a smartphone brings the entire world to our fingertips, a smart city incorporates state-of-the-art technologies to upgrade the quality of life for an entire city. McKinsey Global Institute states that smart city applications have an impact on various quality of life dimensions- safety, time and convenience, health, environmental quality, social connectedness and civic participation, jobs, and the cost of living.The creation of a smart city is a slow and gradual process, demanding not just technological implementation into building the smart city but also technological awareness and literacy at the end of the citizens. This automatically leads to improvements in quality of life, and self-awareness enhances sustainability.
Infrastructure – IoT technology is capable of determining the roads, rails, and bridges that need to undergo reconstruction, as well as the extent of their degradation, extreme temperatures that may cause damage. San Diego has recently replaced 3000 streetlamps with smart LED streetlights that turn on only when a car or a pedestrian approaches. This smart move saves the city an estimated $250,000 a year. Similarly, Barcelona is saving from smart lighting alone $37 million per year.
Public Safety – There is an increasing number of crimes across the globe, as the population increases, and the pressure on the resources increase. It has been seen that often police investigation is hampered, due to reasons like blind spots in video networks or low-quality imagery, or problems with the surveillance camera feeds. However, new technology is starting to become available to help police combat crime more effectively.For eg. Predictive policing harnesses the power of big data and analytics to sift through historical and behavioral data, camera feeds, etc. predicting when and where crimes and other forms of public disorder are likely to occur. Machine learning and neural networks are already being used to provide facial-recognition solutions for video surveillance footage, to assist police departments with their work. According to McKinsey, incidents of assault, robbery, burglary, and auto theft could be lowered by 30 to 40 percent, in the technologically empowered smart cities. On top of these metrics are the incalculable benefits of giving residents freedom of movement and peace of mind.
A Catalyst for Better Health – Smart City applications can provide some relief to the already strained healthcare system due to continued urbanization, industrialization, an aging population, climate change, and growing healthcare costs.Smart healthcare uses the latest mobile and digital technologies to make advances in eHealth and mHealth systems while also driving the growth of intelligent and connected medical devices. IoT technologies are pivotal to the healthcare revolution. Therefore, it’s necessary to prioritize health and wellness goals in the early planning and architecture phases of smart cities.If cities deploy digital technologies to their fullest effect, there is a potential to reduce DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) by 8 to 15 percent, according to a Mckinsey report.
Cleaner and Sustainable Environment – Environmental concerns are growing at an alarming rate due to urbanization, industrialization, and growth in consumption. It is about time we address these issues for more sustainable development for us and the coming generations.Applications such as building-automation systems, dynamic electricity pricing, and some mobility applications could combine to cut emissions by 10 to 15 percent.IoT enabled devices help in tracking water consumption, water getting wasted due to leakages can be used to encourage conservation of water.
IoT facilitates connecting cities and managing multiple infrastructure and public services. From smart traffic systems to improving quality of life, smart waste disposal, water conservation, smart health facilities, etc.- there are highly diverse use cases. However, they are all aimed at achieving the same goal which is sustainable development, by implementing solutions that reduce costs for energy, optimize the use of natural resources, and lead to a safer and healthier environment.
Smart cities will indeed take time to realize their full potential. But the eventuality of their existence is clear. Very soon, we’ll be witness to “smart cars “of the future having the ability to “talk” with each other via Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication technology, and communicating to Infrastructure, with Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity.
- How IoT is Transforming Urban Cities into Smart Cities in the Future – https://www.xcubelabs.com/blog/iot-and-smart-cities-what-the-future-could-look-like/
- The increase in population creates the need to rediscover the way we live / Infrastructure – https://perfectial.com/blog/future-of-iot/