A “smart city,” as defined by IBM, “makes optimal use of all the interconnected information available today to better understand and control its operations and optimize the use of limited resources.”
In a nutshell, a smart city is one that utilizes a set of interconnected information and communication technologies to design, implement, and promote sustainable development methods that can help solve urban problems.
Smart City Technologies
Connected public services in smart cities are provided by a combination of IoT devices, software, user interfaces, and communication networks. The IoT stands out as the most consequential. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interconnected computing devices that may share information and coordinate their actions.
Anything from cars and refrigerators to smart thermostats and traffic lights can fit into this category. In order to enhance public and private sector efficiencies, bring about economic gains, and better the lives of citizens, data acquired from these devices are kept in the cloud or on servers.
Edge computing is used by many IoT devices, and this helps to prioritize the data that is sent across the network. As an added precaution against unauthorized access to the city’s data platform via the Internet of Things (IoT), a security system is in place to guard, monitor, and control the flow of data from the smart city network.
Smart cities, in addition to the Internet of Things solutions, employ technology such as:
- Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Cloud Computing Services
- Machine Learning
- Machine-to-Machine Communications
- Mesh Networks
Smart City Features
The widespread use of smart city technology is made possible by the integration of automation, machine learning, and the Internet of Things. Smart parking, for instance, can facilitate drivers’ search for available parking spots and even facilitate digital payment.
A smart city infrastructure can also handle ride-sharing services, for instance, by keeping tabs on traffic flows and adjusting lights accordingly to lessen congestion.
Streetlights that turn off when they detect a lack of traffic are just one example of the smart city feature that can help save energy and reduce pollution. Smart grid technologies have the potential to boost power supply reliability, efficiency, and reliability across the board.
Through internet-enabled rubbish collection, bins, and fleet management systems, smart city initiatives can also be used to combat climate change and air pollution as well as waste management and sanitation.
Smart cities provide the provision of safety measures in addition to services, such as monitoring high-crime areas or employing sensors to enable early warning for events like floods, landslides, storms, and droughts.
To help decide when repairs are required, smart buildings can also provide real-time space management or structural health monitoring and feedback. In addition to citizens using the system to report issues like potholes to authorities, sensors can keep tabs on other infrastructure issues like water main breaks.
Manufacturing, urban farming, energy utilization, and other processes can all benefit from smart city technology.
In order to better serve its residents, smart cities can integrate a wide variety of services.
History of Smart Cities
When the US Community Analysis Bureau started employing databases, aerial photography, and cluster analysis to collect data, direct resources, and issue reports in the 1960s and 1970s, it laid the groundwork for the concept of smart cities. As a result, the first generation of “smart cities” came into being.
Technology companies offered the first generation of smart cities so that people may learn about the impact of technology on their daily lives.
As a result, researchers looked into how smart technology and other breakthroughs could produce integrated municipal solutions in the second generation of smart cities. The third generation of smart cities shifted power away from private technology companies and municipal governments and toward citizens and local communities.
Vienna, adopting this third-generation model, has formed a relationship with the local Wien Energy firm to facilitate citizen investment in local solar facilities and to address gender equality and housing affordability head-on. In Vancouver, where 30,000 locals collaborated on the Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, this trend has persisted.
Functioning of a Smart City
Through a system of interconnected Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other technologies, smart cities aim to enhance residents’ quality of life and stimulate economic development in four distinct phases. Here’s what has to be done:
Collection – Smart sensors gather real-time data
Analysis – The data is analyzed to gain insights into the operation of city services and operations
Communication – The results of the data analysis are communicated to decision-makers
Action – Action is taken to improve operations, manage assets and improve the quality of city life for the residents
To aid in making better choices, the ICT framework compiles real-time data from connected assets, objects, and machines. However, in addition, citizens can use their mobile devices, as well as connected vehicles and buildings, to participate in and interact with smart city ecosystems.
Costs can be reduced, sustainability enhanced, and city services like energy distribution and garbage collection streamlined through the usage of connected devices; other benefits include less traffic congestion and improved air quality.
Why Smart Cities Are Important?
Currently, 54% of the global population resides in urban areas; this is projected to increase to 66% by 2050, a rise of 2.5 billion people. Sustainable resource management is essential in light of the anticipated increase in population.
In a smart city, residents and government officials can pool their resources to manage the expanding city’s infrastructure and expanding population.
Why Do We Need Smart Cities?
A smart city is one that generates economic growth while simultaneously providing a good quality of life for its citizens. This entails providing citizens with a more affordable set of integrated services.
In light of the projected urban population increase, wherein greater efficiency in the utilization of infrastructure and assets is needed, this takes on greater significance. These enhancements, in turn, will improve the quality of life for city residents, who will have access to them thanks to smart city services and applications.
Governments and residents can both benefit from the cost savings and revenue gains that result from the use of smart city technologies.
Are Sustainable Smart Cities Possible?
In their pursuit of greater efficiency in metropolitan areas and the betterment of citizen welfare, smart cities place a premium on sustainability. Cities have both positive and negative effects on the environment; the former includes things like reduced overall footprints, while the latter includes things like reliance on fossil fuels for energy.
However, advanced technology, such as the introduction of an electric transportation system to decrease emissions, could help mitigate these unfavorable outcomes. While plugged in and idle, electric vehicles have the potential to aid the electrical grid in maintaining a consistent frequency.
As autonomous vehicles are predicted to reduce the need for car ownership among the population, more environmentally friendly modes of transportation should lead to fewer cars in urban areas.
The advantages to the environment and society from the development of such long-term solutions could be substantial.
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