Updated: Oct 20
After a decade of trial and error, metropolitan leaders are understanding that brilliant city systems start with its people, and not the technology. Smartness isn't just about introducing advanced technology solutions in the framework for smoothing out city tasks. It is likewise about utilizing technology innovatively to make the quality of life better.
The idea of a Smart City in very simple terms means a city that utilizes technology to harness its power to increase the quality of life for its residents by making the city’s built infrastructure and services easily accessible, efficient, and safe for all its residents. Urban communities are home to the greater part of the total populace, and they are supposed to add another huge number to it.
What are Smart Cities?
In my words, a city would be smart if its physical infrastructure and service delivery mechanism makes life in the city more convenient, smooth and affordable. Mobility, security, governance, healthcare, local economy, and the environment are key aspects that are being focused by most cities to make the life of its people more easy, economical and experiential.
Active participation of people is equally important in making a city more smart. Cities whoe’s people collaborate to bring change in the social habits, participatete in local governance, and support local economy by embracing technology can truely adopts the technology for its upgradation.
The overall mission of a brilliant city is to upgrade city works and drive monetary development while working on personal satisfaction for its residents utilizing smart innovation and information examination. Value is given to the brilliant city based on how they decide to incorporate the innovation, and not exactly how much innovation they might have.
After implementing many tech solutions to make cities smart, smart city stakeholders have come to an understanding that a city does not just become a smart by installing technology everywhere. It is done by integrating technology-driven solution with a purpose to optimize the usage of built infrastructure and to make public service delivery systems more efficient.
Lavasa (India), PlantIT Valley (Portugal), and Ordos(China) were built and promoted around technology but failed to take off. Santander(Spain), vouched as the city with most number of sensors but later termed as “The failure of sensors in cities” as explained in the 2019 publication ‘El fracaso de la sensórica en las ciudades’,
In the initial days the stakeholder worked around installing tech solution and measured the smartness with the amount of technology being implementing in the city. Soon, everybody realised that not every city needs every tech solution and all the technology. Particularly at government level has understood that a city is not a computer.
Private and public stakeholder of smart city now are coming to a mutual understanding on parameters of making a smart city. A lot has been researched and documented around the smart city determinants.
What are the key components of a smart city?
Smart city organisations, scholars, and researchers have identified key aspects that a city should focus on to a target to make cities smart. Bee Smart City, https://www.beesmart.city/, a renowned organisation focused on bringing together all the stakeholders of smart city, has put together all the key aspects in to six categories, namely people, mobility, governance, living, economy, and environment. Let’s take a quick look at how these factors affect and help cities and societies.
Residents today expect that their urban areas should convey powerful, easy-to-use computerized administrations. Joint effort apparatuses, current and natural sites, versatile applications, self-administration entries, and advantageous web-based accounts have turned into the norm in numerous aspects of life, and residents expect no less from their city. Extending computerized administrations in networks make brilliant urban communities a more alluring spot for occupants to live and advance a connected citizen experience.
A smart city is a more secure city. Utilizing innovation advances and seeking after private/public organizations to assist with decreasing crime. Advancements, for example, tag acknowledgment, gunfire identifiers, associated wrongdoing places, and body cameras all give policing an edge while at work.
Connected transportation frameworks have probably the best potential to upgrade efficiencies all through a city.
The City of Chicago sent off a portable application to permit residents to make online installments, view refreshed transport and train timetables, and track vehicles progressively. The application works across all city public travel choices and has made utilizing the city's transportation frameworks more straightforward for Chicago occupants.
Smart utility and service Infrastructure
The infrastructure of a Smart City helps the community in improving things like energy distribution and consumption, streamlining garbage and sewage collection, and working on traffic congestion.
Sensors related to all traffic-based functions like embedded in roads, traffic lights, and cars continuously send data to the monitoring systems. This allows for changing the light timings and updating vehicle navigation as a response to real-time traffic congestion and the occasional accidents.
Network sensors accurately monitor environmental conditions like air quality, water quality, and flora and fauna. Smart Garbage disposal cans send accurate data about the amount as well as the kinds of waste to the waste management companies.
Cars with connected navigation systems can easily help out with problems with space in the parking areas and navigate drivers to anywhere empty spaces that are available.
Utilities that are connected to the mainframe could inform the residents about their energy consumption and help optimize the same. It would allow companies to deliver just as much gas and electricity as is needed, thus reducing waste
What makes Smart Cities “smart”?
A city's reliance on technologies like the Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics paired with the already widely adopted pieces of tech like smartphones and sensors is what would make a city smart in a true sense.
The vast ocean of sensors that we live in already produces a gargantuan amount of data. Satellite data in GPS, environmental sensors, meters, cameras and so much more provide and collect massive amounts of data to an unprecedented degree.
Tech like IoT holds the key to translating this massive amount of data and putting it into use through actions, insights, and predictions.
The interconnectivity aspect of a city is what acts as the driving force behind a smart city. Primary city functions that normally exist within their own bubbles like hospital and healthcare services, emergency services, and transport are to be interconnected and on a fundamental level.
An aspect of smart cities that are often taken for granted despite its criticalness is public usage and adoption. Multiple applications of the necessary tech can only function to their fullest degree if they are adopted by the masses.
A Real-Life Example
Let us look at City of Chennai that is a good example who’s caretakers, government and stake holders are working towards making the city smart by focusing on Innovations in Traffic, Classrooms, and the Environment.
The city of Chennai, India is encountering many difficulties, yet it is handling these issues individually utilizing brilliant city arrangements. The list of challenges likely sounds recognizable to any city chief: an enormous populace of 8 million, blockage from private vehicles, unfortunate framework, and contamination. Raj Cherubal, Chief at Chennai City Associate, gives a few instances of the brilliant city projects in progress in Chennai that are pointed toward taking care of these issues:
Working on the reasonableness of the city by adding public spaces, in spite of resistance that adding public space might annihilate business and mean the demise of the city. Chennai is hoping to make its own adaptation of Times Square.
Advancing the utilization of German GPS-empowered bicycles to eliminate private vehicles on the streets. The city has helped adoption rates by glamorizing these extravagant bicycles that can be followed and booked ahead of time.
Adding framework underground all through the city. This is troublesome on the grounds that there isn't a lot of information on where water pipes are, so Chennai is dealing with GIS planning and progressed tunneling innovation.
Setting up brilliant classrooms. The city has joined forces with Samsung to place brilliant innovation in the study halls.
This is only a waitlist of the many ventures occurring or in the arranging stage in Chennai, which includes solar energy, 3D planning, computerized signs, and a server farm. While the activities will assist with expanding income for the city, they are likewise assisting with separating storehouses inside government and increment the personal satisfaction for inhabitants.
Technologies that make Smart Cities
As it has already been mentioned, before a smart city becomes truly smart, its infrastructure needs to be interconnected. For that to happen at a much larger scale, the infrastructure needs to include a wide network of sensors, wireless networks, and storage and analysis platforms.
We have the Internet of Things (IoT) to thank in terms of making millions of products and devices that were previously considered “dumb” into what can positively be considered “smart” by today’s standards. This means that those devices and objects have been made a part of the larger technological ecosystem through the internet with the help of sensors and actuators.
GPS systems guide drives to their destinations, lights dim and switch off when people are not in the room, and thermostats turn off the air conditioning when there are no people nearby. These are all examples of IoT already being adopted into our surroundings and with the costs of sensors getting reduced along with processing power and storage options becoming cheaper, adoption rates for IoT have become increasingly high.
The interconnectivity of IoT entirely depends on a stable and fast connection. Under Ideal conditions, free WiFi would benefit not just the system as a whole but the residents as well as the tourists. This could drive personal costs lower and allow all citizens to be a part of the smart city ecosystem with their devices always being connected.
Open Data Platforms
Smart Cities are a concept solely bases on data and its utility. Cities in general generate huge amounts of complex data. It is generated by public transport systems, healthcare systems, emergency response systems, weather patterns, crime incidents, energy utilization, and so on.
This data that normally gets fragmented and often goes to waste has great potential and that is what smart cities are out to harness by turning them into useful information. That is where Open Data Platforms come in.
These platforms do not come in one specific form but in multiple shapes and sizes, from open data source data portals to specific travel information in real-time.
It goes without saying how AI fits into this picture with smart cities. Taking all the data and processing it, converting it into readable and sharable forms, and making it all available to developers and the governors to come up with solutions and develop applications. Also, to make that data available to other AI systems allowing them to perform other specific functions.
Artificial Intelligence’s accuracy and reliability as well as the speed it promises and provides are beyond human capabilities and its application will only lead to increased efficiency.
Blockchain allows for a large network of participants to deal with data with an exceedingly high level of reliability and security without the need for an administrator to overlook it.
With the way cities are run with stakeholders, it is essential that the data exchange happening at that level is secure, transparent, and fast for the smooth running of the city’s faculties.
In fact, blockchain has already seen widespread deployment in the Smart Dubai project where this tech has been used across multiple sectors like finance, education, and transportation. One of the projects is to facilitate enrollment procedures for students moving between emirates using blockchain.
API or Application Programming Interface allows users to directly connect to the data they are looking for without having to sift through the enormous volume of it that is constantly being produced.
It is an essential block in building up smart cities as it can be used to create a link between the data, the devices, and the users to create a shared information system.
Leading Smart Cities of the World
In 2019, IMD Business School in Switzerland started to publish a global ranking of smart cities. In its second edition, the IMD Smart City Index 2020 ranked 109 cities with Singapore as the leading smart city in the world.
In 2014, Singapore started its Smart Nation initiative which was being overseen by the Smart Nation and Digital Governance Office. Their goal is the adoption of digital and smart tech throughout the nation.
In its “Strategies Zurich 2035,” the city council defined fields of action with concrete perspectives for Zurich. many projects are formerly using digital options to apply grounded on urban IT structure. similar projects should continue to be the responsibility of the service departments. The Smart City Zurich strategy is to help us with future population necessities. It should promote invention and position the city of Zurich as a smart city. Accordingly, Smart City Zurich strengthens the implementation of the Zurich 2035 strategy and many specialist strategies
NYC has been steadily expanding IoT technologies across the city with a number of applications. Among the City’s largest-scale IoT projects is the Department of Environmental Protection’s( DEP) integration of wirelessly connected water meters for structures. These measures allow DEP to cover water usage in over 800 000 buildings across the city, barring the need to shoot physical inspectors to read measures.
Since its commencement in 2015, the smart Dubai Office has launched over 130 initiatives in partnership with the government and private-sector entities. Some crucial drives include the Dubai Data Initiative, the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, the Happiness docket, the Dubai AI Roadmap, and the Dubai Paperless Strategy.
There are cities like New Songdo City in South Korea which were designed and created from the ground up with the intent of creating a Smart City. The city was made up of IoT technology embedded into the systems in the city. Another smart city planned from scrape is Neom in Saudi Arabia, which plans to complete its first section by 2025.
Whatever technology or technology-driven solution that a city adopts has to help in improving the quality of life for its inhabitant by improving mobility, enhancing security, and making healthcare and government services easily accessible and affordable.
At Danip Innovations, we accept innovation is at the center of new urban areas. Our convictions and thoughts for tech solutions for urban areas move us to team up with associations pursuing Brilliant city projects. We design and foster IoT, AI, and SaaS-based technology solutions that can gather crucial data, analyze it, and help governments to make cities a better place to live cities