The world’s smartest cities: What IoT and smart governments will mean for you
ntelligent cities are at the forefront of the next wave of the Internet of Things. The goals are to streamline communication and improve the lives of citizens. And save a little money along the way.
One of the next big targets of the digital age is the city. The combination of technology paired with physical infrastructure and services can simplify the lives of residents. That’s the promise of the “smart city.”
The concept is the result of the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT), with transportation, utilities, and law enforcement among the many areas being impacted. This is the ideal time for such technology, since more than 60% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, according to a report from Cisco Systems.
Early adopters of smart city technologies include the European cities of Barcelona and Amsterdam. The concept has quickly spread into other countries, with Copenhagen, Dubai, Singapore, Hamburg, and Nice, France following suit, and U.S. cities are also getting smarter with San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Miami and San Antonio among those adding capabilities.
Companies such as Cisco, IBM, Intel, Silver Spring Networks, Build.io, GE Lighting and Siemens are among those providing smart city solutions worldwide.
Austin Ashe, manager of Intelligent Environment for Cities at GE Lighting, said, “Everyone has their own definition of an intelligent city. To us, an intelligent city is a city that can collect data efficiently and bring it in a way that is meaningful to them. It can enhance revenue, or ultimately offer citizens new services that they never before had.”
Anil Menon, Cisco’s deputy chief globalization officer, said, “A smart city is a city that uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies—connected via an intelligent network—to address challenges within city communities and across vertical industries. These challenges may include parking, traffic, transportation, street lighting, water and waste management, safety and security, even the delivery of education and healthcare. A smart city relies on technological solutions that enhance its existing process to better support and optimize the delivery of urban services, to reduce resource consumption and contain costs, and to provide the means and the opportunities to engage actively and effectively with its citizens, with its visitors and with its businesses.”
While the definitions may vary, one consistent reality is that the technology in smart cities varies immensely based on the needs of that particular city and the budget allocated for such technologies.