How smart city development efficacy will help level rapid urbanization
It is expected that 65% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2040 as currently, about 1.3 million people worldwide move to cities every week. This puts great pressure on city managers to effectively manage facilities for a growing population, which has given rise to the adoption of smart city solutions.
What makes a city smart?
A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic integration and sensors to collect useful data. The information gained is used to manage assets, resources, and services efficiently; in return, that data helps improve the operations across the city. Data could be collected from citizens, devices, buildings, and assets which are processed and analysed. This enables an array of use cases such as managing traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.
The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) network to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor city activity and evolution. ICT is used to enhance the quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to increase contact between citizens and the government. Smart city applications are developed to manage urban flows and allow for real-time responses. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple “transactional” relationship with its citizens.
The 2020 Smart City Index ranks Singapore, Helsinki, Zurich, Auckland, and Oslo as the top five smart cities in the world with many European cities slipping in this global ranking. The biggest mover in the 2020 Index is New York, now ranked at number 10 from 38 in 2019.
Research company Research and Markets estimates that the smart city market is anticipated to grow at a substantial compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 18.1% between 2021 and 2027.
The possibilities are endless
Forbes magazine’s Technology Council listed these as key benefits of smart cities they would like to see, as published earlier this year:
- Unprecedented efficiency
- Optimizations for sustainability
- Rapid Integration of New Technologies
- Connected classrooms
- Applications of contextual data
- Reduced CO2 emissions
- Enhanced traffic management
- Decreased gridlock and fewer accidents
- Better autonomous vehicles
- Improved safety and security systems
- More efficient municipal services
- Wi-Fi-enabled productivity boosts
Sustainability is key
As cities use 60 to 80% of the world’s energy needs, the reduction of energy consumption has emerged as a major focus for implementing smart city strategies. Few cities have released actual numbers but a report by Smart Cities Press shows what is possible. In its analysis of what city managers should look at it notes that the Empire State Building in New York reduced its energy consumption by 38% after installing a smart monitor. Additionally, the building saved $4.4 million in a year, supporting other technological advancements.
A community-driven approach
Although the concept of smart cities has become almost a buzzword around the world, global research giant Gartner stressed in a recent report that improving the lives of citizens is what it should be about. “Smart cities can only be successful if local government engages with citizens, opening up a dialogue to meet their needs,” according to the report. “Developing IoT programmes without consulting the community is the wrong strategy. Smart cities are no longer just about optimised traffic patterns, parking management, efficient lighting, or improvements to public works, but should instead be about a community-driven approach to deciding local priorities.”
IoT.nxt Smart City solutions
IoT.nxt is currently rolling out smart city applications in several territories that monitor air quality, track energy management, manage streetlights, reviews traffic flow and provide real-time information on a single platform to city managers, who can now take immediate action when alerts are received.
Many of the IoT.nxt projects currently live focus on energy management. Conserving energy and unlocking resultant cost savings are priorities for city managers all over the world. One solution implemented in the US has connected all the streetlights of the city. Stakeholders can now see remotely on a single dashboard which streetlights are on or off, which are dimmed, and which are faulty. As each individual light is monitored, intelligent alarms are raised in real-time allowing service teams to address whatever needs to be changed. Dimming lights during times of no activity on a road switching lights off when natural light is sufficient (as opposed to using a timer system) drives significant cost savings. The data also provides the city with seasonal trends allowing for adjusted strategy planning for optimum results.
Another demanding issue for city managers is traffic management and the related issue of traffic rules infringements. This too has been improved using IoT.nxt technology without requiring the installation of new equipment. By connecting the existing infrastructure, specifically, the traffic camera network, the city’s traffic manager can monitor traffic volumes as well as traffic flow in real-time and receive alerts about infringement of traffic rules. Improving traffic issues is of real benefit to citizens of cities as it remains a time-draining daily activity.
Beyond operational issues like traffic and street light monitoring, smart city solutions can also track the efficiencies of utilities. Smart metering, for instance, can reduce water wastage as water leaks are detected and addressed in real-time, improved readings deliver accurate billing.
Using technology to develop a smart city is all about unlocking efficiencies and driving the reduction of costs. Smart technology can transform the citizen experience in cities. IoT technology delivers fast ROI in any industry. Speak to IoT.nxt to transform your business, the sector you operate in, your building, your city.
It’s still your city. Only smarter.