The smart cities trend has introduced significant changes to our old city models all over the world.
What is a smart city?
A smart city uses available technologies to bring a marked improvement in its residents’ quality of services. These improved services may include street lights, transport systems, garbage collection, and power distribution.
A smart city aims to use data and technology to optimize available resources. It does not aim to use massive investments to bring improvements. It tries to use the Internet of Things (IoT) that connects smart devices for a better flow of data.
Why is it a smart city?
Cities are drawing people from the countryside at a very high rate. According to the UN data, nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Our cities are already stretched to their limits due to the increasing population that brings additional pressure to the available resources.
But the situation will be even worse when more people are going to live and work in the cities. To provide better facilities, the cities need resources many times more than they are available today. Even then, the situation may not improve. This is not sustainable, either.
Adopting technologies that integrate the resources and using the data about the people to understand how the resources can be optimally used can be the way forward. The concept of a smart city is exactly this. Smart cities will also bring more convenience to people and improve their quality of life.
Smart cities will create spaces where humans and technology will interact in a more automated, intelligent, and connected manner. There are already some big technologies that are being deployed to make our cities smarter.
For example, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Autonomous Vehicles have already made our city life more convenient than it used to be a decade ago.
In this article, we will see how some technologies are driving the future of smart city growth.
City traffic and transportation
A high number of vehicles on the city road slows the traffic, and in many cases, it leads to traffic jams. So much of our time is wasted in such traffic conditions. But this would change in a smart city where traffic lights are controlled from a centralized data center.
This control room receives real-time data on road usage, and traffic conditions from a variety of smart devices such as sensors installed all along the city roads.
An algorithm designed to ease the traffic condition will control the traffic lights and allow longer green light on the road where traffic is heavy.
These things are already happening in many cities around the world. Smart road flares have made the management of accident sites more automated. A bus network equipped with GPS allows passengers at the bus stand to know how many minutes their bus is going to come.
A city creates hundreds and thousands of waste every day. An equal number of municipal trucks are out to collect the waste and dump it at the designated place. Now, after adopting smart technologies, truck drivers have updates about the garbage bins that are full and the ones that are only partially filled.
This helps the drivers avoid checking out the bins that are not full yet. The cities that have adopted smart city technologies have their entire waste disposal system revamped with both bins and vehicles using computer chips and GPS systems in a smart combination.
Improving energy efficiency
Smart cities are promoting the use of clean energy by incentivizing it. Also, those who consume fewer amounts of conventional energy are given subsidies. To bring this idea to the practical level, the new meters are designed to adjust the reading and calculate the bill as per the reduced rate.
This is if the consumption is below the threshold of the next slab. There are many different smart technologies at work in the power distribution sector. These technologies try to address each of the pain points in the entire distribution network and billing mechanism.
We have mentioned three technologies that are driving the future of smart city growth. These technologies are already under implementation in different cities around the world. For example, smart road flares bring many technological advantages besides their designated job of alerting oncoming traffic.