Imagine your physical office building having a digital replica of itself. No imagine everything in that building being tracked. Power usage, water systems, solar power systems, carbon emissions, even the operational ability of the elevators and so on. Being able to track these things provides efficiencies that were not possible prior to the IoT.
The result we have today is the ability to use these technologies to save money, improve production and operate in a more environmentally sustainable fashion.
A smart city is a framework, predominantly composed of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to develop, deploy, and promote sustainable development practices to address growing urbanization challenges.
Smart cities aren’t just a concept or a dream of the future.
Thanks to the wildly innovative IoT (Internet of Things), many are already active and expanding rapidly.
Municipal governments are leveraging cellular and Low Power Wide Area (LPWAN) wireless technologies to connect and improve infrastructure, efficiency, convenience, and quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
A big part of this ICT framework is an intelligent network of connected objects and machines (also known as a digital city) transmitting data using wireless technology and the cloud.
Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze, and manage data in real-time to help municipalities, enterprises, and citizens make better decisions that improve quality of life.
Citizens engage with smart city ecosystems in various ways using smartphones and mobile devices and connected cars and homes. Pairing devices and data with a city’s physical infrastructure and services can cut costs and improve sustainability.
Communities can improve energy distribution, streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion, and improve air quality with help from the IoT.
Connected traffic lights receive data from sensors and cars adjusting light cadence and timing to respond to real-time traffic, reducing road congestion.
Connected cars can communicate with parking meters and electric vehicle (EV)charging docks and direct drivers to the nearest available spot.
Smart garbage cans automatically send data to waste management companies and schedule pick-up as needed versus a pre-planned schedule.
And citizens’ smartphone becomes their mobile driver’s license and ID card with digital credentials, which speeds and simplifies access to the city and local government services.
Together, these smart city technologies are optimizing infrastructure, mobility, public services, and utilities.
Why do we need smart cities?
Urbanization is a non-ending phenomenon.
Today, 54% of people worldwide live in cities, a proportion that’s expected to reach 66% by 2050.
With the overall population growth, urbanization will add another 2.5 billion people to cities over the next three decades.
Environmental, social, and economic sustainability is a must to keep pace with this rapid expansion taxing our cities’ resources.
One hundred ninety-three countries agreed upon the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda in September 2015 at the United Nations.
But we all know how centralized decisions and actions can take time, and the clock is ticking.
The good news?
Citizens and local authorities are certainly more agile to launch swift initiatives, and smart city technology is paramount to success and meeting these goals.
How is IoT technology making cities smarter and better?
Secure wireless connectivity and IoT technology are transforming traditional elements of city life - like streetlights - into next-generation intelligent lighting platforms with expanded capabilities.
The scope includes integrating solar power and connecting to a cloud-based central control system that connects to other ecosystem assets.
These solutions shine far beyond simple lighting needs.
High-power embedded LEDs alert commuters about traffic issues, provide severe weather warnings, and provide heads up when fires arise, for example.
Streetlights can also detect free parking spaces and EV charging docks and alert drivers where to find an open spot via a mobile app. Charging might even be able from the lamppost itself in some locations!