Smart City has become more than a buzzword in the recent time, Government and city officials are looking for ways to use the concept of smart cities projects for resolving the challenges faced by cities. According to various market research, Smart city market size will grow to around $1.4 trillion by the year 2020 which is quite significant.
It’s difficult to accurately define what is a smart city. The idea is to make a city “smart” and efficient to improve the living condition of its citizens and propelling itself for a prosperous growth. It’s a vision in which the challenges in the cities like environment, economic, demographic and social are overcome by using digital technology. A Smart City could help in cities betterment through
- Efficiency improvement – prevent wastage.
- Economic impact like reduce cost, increase revenue.
- Environmental impact like reduced CO2 emission, pollution reduce the wastage of resources like electricity, water.
- Social inclusiveness – providing open data to the public to help then in the decision and interacting with city officials.
- City attraction.
The growth of Internet of things and AI will drive the adoption of smart cities quicker. Internet of Things allows the devices to be interconnected and allows them to communicate their status and data to others. This allows various services in the City to be interlinked and transforming them into a smart city
A smart city will have interlinked city services like trans portion, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, others. By interlinking the information from various city services the inefficiencies and challenges faced by the city could be mitigated.
A smart city should have implemented features like Smart Grid, Smart Traffic management, Smart parking, Smart street light management, Smart natural resource utilization.
Some of the smart City initiatives include
Smart Traffic management: The sensor data from the streets streamed live could transmit the status of traffic on streets and connecting this data to the transportation system could divert the traffic to a less congested route. This could also be interlinked to the home assistance device like Alexa to inform citizen on the status.
Other similar application would be a smart parking system. Here the parking spaces fitted with sensors could transmit the status of occupancy and interlinking it to the various parking spaces in the city could allow the citizen to find the nearest parking space to their destination through a mobile app.
Smart waste management in which the waste disposal happens in an efficient way and helps reduce the overall cost. Sensors fitted in a garbage can signal when they are full and waste disposal can be initiated. This helps in reducing the logistics management of the vehicle to only when required and helps in reducing unnecessary movement of the vehicle in the road.
Smart Lighting which helps to reduce electricity consumption through the use of smart lighting control, like turning on only when the ambient light is low and turning off when not needed. Smart Lighting systems are frequently also equipped with central management software that monitors usage and leads to maintenance efficiency.
A new report released this year by Juniper research ranked Singapore as the smartest City followed by Barcelona, London, San Francisco and Oslo. They used some 40 metrics to evaluate covering technology, transport, energy, open data and economy higher weight age for transport and energy. Some of the smart city initiative by them includes
Singapore: sensors to track smoking in an unauthorized zone, open data from sensors and cameras to track traffic which public can view, smart traffic light, smart parking, Singapore encourages the use of public transportation and has reduced the number of private vehicle on road.
Barcelona: smart traffic management system, smart parking technology, smart streetlights, and sensors for monitoring air quality and noise, smart grid pilot projects, smart meters, smart sensors for irrigation.
London: technology to help tackle congestion and make parking simpler and Smart transportation.
SFO: smart parking, smart urban development initiatives, smart transportation.
Oslo: reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, sensor network to help improve the care of sick, elderly patients, smart LED lighting and has launched a broad sensing network for monitoring traffic levels.
There are a lot of projects that could be done in a city which could deem itself propelling the city to being considered a “smart city”. But will there be a smart City “achieved” status? Probably no because there will always be room for improvement and it will be the ongoing process.