Are you living in a smart home? Just look around, and you’ll observe it’s a heck of a lot smarter than it was ten or even five years ago. Today our homes are occupied with smart devices, like smart speakers, smart thermostats, and smart lightbulbs. But the trend did not remain to the smart home, but the trend for intelligent spaces extends far beyond our homes. Now, everything is becoming a part of this trend, including smart cities. Smart cities are dependent on the latest technologies like 5G, IoT and fibre infrastructure. The latest innovations and changes in 5G, IoT and fibre infrastructure technologies are developing and strengthening the networks of the future.
Smart cities are utilizing these networks for smooth functioning. However, to ensure smart cities’ sustainability for the future, the connectivity infrastructure must be supported by highly efficient energy networks.
Let’s know everything in detail- what are smart cities, how technology is changing the outlook of cities, and what are the key investment opportunities?
A smart city uses advanced technologies to magnify efficiencies and enhance its residents’ quality of services and life. It usually embraces smart power distribution, transportation system, street lights and rubbish collection etc. The main concept behind the idea is to use data and technology smartly to make everyday life easier and better for people residing and working in the city while potentially utilizing the present resources.
Smart cities are built to enhance energy efficiency and help their regions reach their respective net-zero carbon emissions targets. It is expected that smart cities can generate around $20 trillion in economic benefits by 2026.
UN has predicted that 68 per cent of the world’s population would be living in urban areas by the end of 2050, which intimates that there would be more pressure on cities. There would be environmental, economic and societal challenges. The only solution to upcoming problems is by making cities smart.
By introducing smart cities, we can make cities a better and safe place to live. It can improve the fundamental quality of life indicators like daily commute, health issues and reduce crime incidents by around 10 to 30 per cent.
Traffic is a curse for everyone living in cities but thanks to technology as it has provided some promising solutions. For example, one can adjust the route in real-time according to demand, and smart traffic lights can be used to manage the congestion.
There are sensors attached to the waste containers to report the container’s real-time status, which means that refuse collectors do not have to waste time travelling and collecting half-full refuse containers. This also implies that collectors can keep a check on how many bins are about to overflow and when they need to replace them. This facility is far better than measuring abstract factors like how many collection trucks are at work.
Smart cities use technology to monitor real-time energy use and energy consumption closely. For example,
In Schenectady, New York, most street lights are upgraded to LED technology, allowing the lights to be adjusted based on real-time data. In Amsterdam, homes have smart energy meters designed to reduce energy consumption. This enables citizens to use energy sources consciously.
Today, the adoption of the latest technology has improved the safety and security system of the residents. Smart Cities utilize technology inventions like wifi, IoT and CCTV cameras to strengthen safety and improve incident response times. For example,
In many smart cities, real-time video data from the street is analyzed to better track and designate resources on the ground and enhance public safety.
One of the best things about Smart cities is that it invites residents to participate in local issues. There are some apps that empower residents and allow them to report local problems. They can even share resources among themselves by using community networking platforms.
For example, Smart Cities have a low-cost environmental kit that is used to collect local ecological data. Residents place it in locations like balconies and windowsills to collect the local environment’s data like air, noise, and pollution. The collected data is then streamed to an online platform, efficiently creating a crowdsourced map of data worldwide.
The speedy growth of advanced technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence, cloud and edge computing supports smart cities’ evolution. We are currently in the starting stage of an edge computing revolution. It is absolutely essential to support the rapid growth in the number of connected devices and the massive increase in data gathered.
It is expected that approximately $20 billion of opportunities across hardware, software and services would be generated by the end of 2023.
It is clear that investment in reliable technology and high-speed connectivity is the central concept in building Smart City. The sudden shift to work from home culture in 2020 due to pandemic demands for stable and secure high-speed connectivity. With the increase in the number of connected infrastructures, cities must be aware of weaknesses and probable emerging problems.
Climate change is one of the primary concern in today’s world. So decarbonizing the sector is the only possible and cost-effective ways to decrease the emerging climate change problem.
It is noted that most commercial buildings are responsible for 20% of energy use in the United States, in which 30% of energy is usually wasted. However, the addition of smart solutions can transform buildings into smart ones and make them energy-efficient and completely automated.
As per the Paris agreement, all buildings require to be net-zero carbon by 2050, and this goal increases the demand for smart buildings.
Today, cities are consuming around two-thirds of the world’s energy; thus, there is immense pressure to shift to lower-carbon energy systems. No, doubt investment in smart technology will accelerate the shift while yielding economic growth and competition. Investment in next-generation energy transmission, smart grids and distribution networks can help monitor energy flows and adapt to fluctuations in supply and demand, respectively. Smart cities will also include smart meters to introduce price differentiation, microgrids for a local energy source, gamification apps to lower consumer usage etc.
With climate changes, water management and waste management are another concern to be resolved as soon as possible. Today, access to potable water, treatment of wastewater and waste management are essential issues that cities are facing. Besides this, flooding, drought and water losses are also growing threats due to climate changes and urbanization. Urban planners have to keep track of the ageing drainage systems.
Therefore the introduction of smart solutions has become necessary to overcome water-related issues. The addition of a smart water management system will include leakage, pollution detection and predictive maintenance planning.
For waste management, there are sensors attached to the bins that update the refusal bin’s status. Refusal collectors keep track of the data and collect the waste containers accordingly. This minimizes the travelling time and cuts off the fuel charges. A smart waste management system also stresses reducing waste at the source through advanced use of packaging, strategic collection methods and divided waste-to-energy solutions.
Smart cities are the best solution to tackle environmental, social and safety issues. It includes everything which is required for the betterment of lifestyle. From smart homes to street lights, smart meter to smart traffic lights, everything contributes to saving natural resources and potentially utilizing available resources. Prompt Softech is dedicatedly working on converting the traditional technology and working process into smart ones. The Softech company provides IoT enabled solutions that can bring changes to your organization by making processes and operations more effective and efficient, ultimately leading to optimal outcome, better experience and the slightest error. You can initiate the ‘smart city’ revolution by adding smart solutions to your organization and cut off unnecessary expenditure.