Is there such a thing as too smart? Some of us may wonder. But when it comes to the future of humankind, our well-being, and the earth itself, smart technology may be the answer to our gravest concerns. Smart cities in particular have too many benefits to ignore.
In case you haven’t heard, a smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to increase operational efficiency, as well as improve both the quality of life for its citizens and government services. This includes implementing sustainability, efficiency, and more.
If you would like to learn how smart film can benefit your commercial building or office space, read our blog post.
Let’s face it, we have a growing population and a limited amount of land mass. We must think strategically about how we can all work and live together moving forward. Ultimately, smart cities can help citizens reduce waste and energy consumption, and much more.
How a Smart City Works
Successful smart cities follow four steps:
- Collection – Smart sensors throughout the city gather data in real-time.
- Analysis – Data collected by the smart sensors is assessed to draw meaningful insights.
- Communication – The insights that have been found in the analysis phase are communicated effectively and efficiently with decision-makers.
- Action – Cities use the insights pulled from the data to create solutions, optimize operations, as well as improve the quality of life for residents.
Smart City Features
The benefits of smart cities streamline our existence and make everything a little easier. This is dependent on a strong, reliable relationship between government entities and the private sector. The data collected is applied in a responsible and solution-oriented manner. We may find that this process becomes more intuitive with time and affords us fewer mishaps or catastrophes that have become common in our everyday lives.
Smart buildings implement the legacy infrastructure. It can be retrofitted in already existing buildings or constructed into new buildings. Sensors can provide space management that ensures public safety, as well as monitor the structural health of buildings. In addition, sensors can also detect wear and tear, and the IoT system can notify officials when repairs are needed.
Moreover, sensors can be used to detect leaks in water mains or pipe systems. Thus, helping reduce costs and improving the efficiency of public workers. Loss of resources can and is being curbed in smart cities.
When smart cities are up and running, residents can expect ease of life that is transparent. Bus systems will be more energy efficient, with schedules being accessible via smartphones. Everything that citizens need will be close by. Communities will be more walkable.
But for those living in smart cities, car ownership can be forgotten. With efficient bus systems, rentable bikes, and walkable communities, automobiles will be less necessary. Consequently, carbon emissions will be reduced.
Furthermore, IoT can provide “real-time” information on systems that are down, such as bus lines or traffic lights. The latter can help prevent traffic jams and keep high traffic areas running smoothly. Smart cities are also implementing parking meters that use an application to help drivers find available parking spaces equates to the less prolonged circling of crowded city blocks. This too will reduce carbon emissions and keep the streets less chaotic.
Better still, the days of not having enough coinage to pay a parking meter will be no more. Now, smart parking meters enable digital payments. Thus, less parking fines for citizens.
Energy conservation and efficiency are high priorities for smart cities. Using smart sensors, smart streetlights dim when roadways are inactive. Smart grid technology can be used to supply power on demand and monitor energy outages, as well as improve maintenance and operations.
Smart city initiatives also monitor environmental concerns such as climate change and air pollution. Waste management and sanitation can be improved by using internet-connected trash cans and IoT-enabled systems for waste collection and removal. Instead of picking up multiple times a week, if the trash cans are empty, the sanitation team can wait for retrieval. Thus, saving on fuel and carbon emissions in the process.
Sustainability is another major component of smart cities. Urbanization is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. Creating carbon-neutral environments is more of a priority than ever before.
Obtaining and applying the data acquired by IoT technology means ensuring that the general public reaps the benefits of applied solutions. This includes environmental initiatives such as recycling, green rooftops or streets, as well as community gardens.
Even clean drinking water can be linked to communications technology. When applied to water management systems, dangerous levels of chemicals can be quickly found, changes made to the process, and lives left undamaged.
Smart Cities in North America
While many cities across the world have started implementing smart technologies, a few stand out as the furthest ahead in development. Some of these cities include:
- Kansas City, Missouri
- San Diego, California
- Columbus, Ohio
- New York City, New York
- Toronto, Canada
Kansas City, Missouri’s smart city initiative includes more than 50 blocks of free public Wi-Fi along the city’s two-mile streetcar route. Additionally, the city implemented smart streetlights and interactive kiosks. Kansas City also has a data visualization app that shows users available parking spaces, up-to-date traffic flow, and pedestrian hotspots.
San Diego, California installed 3,200 smart sensors to optimize traffic and parking, as well as enhance public safety and overall environmental awareness. Solar-to-electric charging stations are available to empower electric vehicle use. Plus, cameras help monitor traffic and pinpoint crime. All of these strategies are improving the everyday lives of residents.
The future of smart cities
Large tech companies such as Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft are investing in buildings smart cities. These organizations understand the advantages of coming together to implement these upgrades. The global smart city industry is expected to grow 20 plus percent by 2025.
By utilizing smart technology and data analysis, smart cities can better serve their citizens and improve carbon emissions across the board. Residents can expect enhanced air quality and an improvement in the cleanliness of public spaces. The list of benefits is long and will continue to grow as we become more adept in applying these technological advancements.
Start Smart with NGS
Is your interest peaked? Watch our product demo today to see how you can achieve smart status. We are in the business of bettering buildings, and we prefer the smart way.