With advancements in technology, the rise of The Internet of Things (IoT), wireless networks, and the rising smartphone penetration, we are witnessing a new trend of smart cities coming up in many countries. But what makes a city smart?
Definitions can be tricky, cautioned Adam Beck, executive director of Australia and New Zealand’s Smart Cities Council in a podcast, and rightly so. When city council members are caught up in the definition of what a smart city is, or what it should be, there is a high chance that we have to act and plan a city (re)development in a certain way and that takes the innovation away from the smart cities.
A smart city is basically a culmination of ideas that aim to create a sustainable, livable, and workable city with people at the center. Developing a smartcity means integrating modern information and communication technologies, IoT sensors and technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML), etc. to bring positive benefits to communities and economies, be it local, national, or global. Smart cities must still retain the economic and cultural impacts with a focus on art, music, literature, etc. to make it work.
What makes a smart city?
A short answer to this question of the decade would be integrating technology in day-to-day city functioning with pragmatism and a long-term view. Technology plays a great role in our day-to-day lives and how we do business. Technology has been driving economies for ages. One can say the edifice of modern civilization is built upon technological advancement over the centuries and it will continue to do so.
At present, over 50% of the global population (8.2B) lives in cities but disproportionately consumes over 80% of the resources, be it physical or social. Come 2050, the city-inhibiting population will surge to 80% and it would be impossible to sustain them through traditional resource delivery mechanisms which are impractical and too costly. Technology is the only solution here.
Smart city systems are emerging as a major response to this unresponsive way of life. A smart city leverages technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance the quality of life for its citizens, improve sustainability, and streamline urban operations.
Let’s explore the key elements that make a city "smart" and highlight the fundamental role technology and IoT play in this transformation.
1. Efficient Infrastructure with IoT
One of the core components of a smart city is its efficient infrastructure. Modern cities utilize technology and IoT to optimize key systems such as transportation, energy, water management, and waste management. Smart transportation systems, for example, employ real-time data collection and analysis to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion, and enhance public transport networks. Various Internet of things technologies such as BLE, RFID and sensors can accurately monitor stress, strain, temperature, and humidity to provide a safe space for creating robust infra that is bound to last for ages with lesser carbon footprint.
The Internet of Things leverages innovation in sensors and data capture technologies to create an overarching network of information, allowing for enhanced living, thriving economy, and sustainability.
2. Enhanced Technology Driven Public Services
Smart cities prioritize the delivery of efficient and accessible public services. Through IoT devices and advanced sensors, governments can gather data on various aspects such as air quality, waste management, and public safety.
Such a data-driven approach enables authorities to make informed decisions, respond swiftly to emergencies, and enhance the overall well-being of citizens.
3. Sustainable Solutions
The integration of IoT and other technologies in a smart city promotes sustainable practices. Monitoring energy consumption allows smart grids to optimize energy distribution, reduce wastage, and promote the use of renewable energy sources. Various Powered Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) allow for wide-scale network coverage at low cost, allowing for smart metering of resources and their consumption across the city.
Additionally, IoT devices can help monitor and conserve water resources, detect leakages, and manage waste disposal effectively, leading to a more sustainable environment.
4. Citizen Engagement through use of Technology
A smart city encourages active citizen participation through the use of technology. Various online platforms and mobile applications enable citizens to engage with their local governments, provide feedback, and access essential services. Besides, IoT devices allow residents to monitor and control their energy consumption, promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility towards sustainable living.
5. Data-Driven Decision Making
The abundance of data generated by IoT devices in a smart city allows for data-driven decision-making. Through advanced analytics, city officials can gain insights into various aspects such as traffic patterns, energy usage, and public health. Such information collection and sharing facilitates evidence-based policy formulation and resource allocation, leading to more efficient and effective urban planning.
With the advancements in IoT and implementation of IoT-based technologies, creating nodes and junctions of data collection through various sensors, data is not just limited to data silos anymore. It can be easily accessed, shared, cleaned, and used for better insights and data-driven decision-making, leading to smart decisions for workability, livability, and sustainability.
The concept of a smart city represents a transformative vision for urban living. It encompasses a range of elements such as efficient infrastructure, enhanced public services, sustainability, citizen engagement, and data-driven decision-making. Technology and IoT play a vital role in the realization of this vision, enabling cities to optimize their resources, improve service delivery, and create a more sustainable and livable environment for their citizens.
In smart city projects, IoT plays a significant role and therefore it is crucial to harness the potential of technology and IoT to build smarter, more connected cities that prioritize the well-being of their residents and sustainability.
- Last updated on Nov 18, 2023