Life in big cities is a race. Every day millions of people all over the globe use public transport to get their jobs; drive their cars, bicycles, e-scooters through traffic jams and are in constant search for a parking lot; use various city services and are stuck in the endless queues. On the other side, the city administrations are trying to improve their utility services to spend less and provide a greater value for their citizens. The good news is that all these and even more are already achievable thanks to smart city technologies. Let’s dig deeper into the world of digital solutions that make the daily lives of many citizens easier, smarter, and more interactive.
The Anatomy Of A Smart City: What, Why, And How?
A smart city is a concept that implies replacing traditional networks and services with advanced urban applications that aims to improve the operations across the city. Keeping it short, smart cities solve routine problems in a more efficient way. The importance of implementing such technology is grounded in digitalization. While there is an undeniable demand originated from people’s needs, it is also a logical stage of development of modern cities. The underlying characteristic of a smart city is the citizens’ involvement: their participation to create well-being and their contribution to new values. Perhaps, not even realizing their engagement, every inhabitant plays a role in building a better place for living, working, and entertaining.
With the implementation of smart city, many things change: improved social and economic quality, safer urban areas of common use, more interactive & responsive public administration services, built-in sustainability, enhanced accessibility for all social groups, and widespread environmentally-friendly solutions.
Smart City Industry Trends In 2021
In recent years, the smart city market is skyrocketing. According to the latest Smart City Index report by IMD, Singapore was a front-runner in 2019 and 2020, and it continues to take the lead in 2021. Despite this fact, North America, specifically the U.S., holds the largest market share of about ⅓ of the global size. The second place is for the Asia Pacific region, being the fastest growing one. A major technology that boosts smart city developments in 2021 is 5G. The other enabling technologies include the Internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, information, and communication technology (ICT), etc.
Moreover, there is a clear trend for an increasing number of smart city initiatives that connect governments and the private sector (public-private partnerships). While there is a steady demand for solving safety, time, and connectedness issues, environmental sustainability becomes a top priority.
Examples Of Smart City Applications
Singapore Digital Healthcare Solutions
Being the world leader in smart city technologies, Singapore is also a place with the highest life expectancies. By 2050, almost half of its citizens are predicted to be aged 65 years or older. This problem is huge. To help the city’s care services efficiently manage the problem in the future, Singapore introduces its digital healthcare solutions today. TeleHealth, TeleRehab, and robotic helpers are bright examples of smart software development. Virtual appointments are a great alternative to the in-person ones, home rehabilitation under the supervision of a therapist via wearable Internet of things devices, and the AI-powered robots that monitor people’s behavior and call urgent care if anything extraordinary happens. All these make the Singapore healthcare system more responsive and flexible.
Chicago Air Quality Sensors
One of the most polluted cities in the U.S., Chicago uses a network of IoT sensors that collect air quality data across the city. This project aims to help the officials and researchers understand the links between city polluted areas and sources of air pollution, how air quality correlates with the likelihood and severity of childhood asthma, among others. The capabilities of these sensors are not limited to air quality monitoring. They can track traffic, noise level, energy consumption by buildings, and even a direction of a bullet in street firing cases. The city administration hopes that this initiative will make Chicago a safer and healthier place for living.
Air Quality Monitoring In Kyiv
Apart from other smart solutions in Kyiv, Ukraine, the LUN City Air initiative aims to provide up-to-date information on air pollution. Smart multi-sensor stations collect data on temperature, humidity, and particulate matter (PM 1.0, PM 2.5, and PM 10), then they are processed by the AQI scale to get a current state of air quality in an area. This project is currently launched in two other Ukrainian cities, Lviv and Odesa, and is going to expand across the country.
Public Transportation In Barcelona
Smart city solutions in Barcelona are not a new thing. There, everything is connected. The traffic management system in the city impresses. Apart from smart traffic regulation, there are smart bus stops. Their interactiveness includes bus schedules, the next bus arrival time, the USB charging stations, and even a city guide.
Smart Bike Parking Solution In Zurich
A Switzerland-based company V-Locker is a pioneer in smart, vertical bike parking solutions. With the growing demand for bicycles in the cities, the problem with parking becomes hot, too. That’s why V-Locker introduces their tower-like parking lots that take only one car parking spot while holding up to 60 bikes. These towers fit any urban area as a sole-standing construction with a modern adaptive design. It is fully autonomous with a solar-powered option and compatible via App or can be integrated into any existing system. This green smart city solution saves urban space, solves the problem of bike vandalism and theft, provides efficient bike storage, and promotes e-biking.
Underground Waste Management In Helsinki
Across Helsinki, there are over 800 waste collection points that contain tanks for different types of waste. These tanks are connected to the waste station with underground pipelines and automatically transport the waste to the facility when a tank is full. This process is fully automated and involves no employees. As a result, there are tons of saved fuel, reduced CO2 emissions, minimal odor and noise pollution, and a great contribution to recycling.
Seul Smart City Platform
To promote the openness and transparency of data, Seul’s city administration has launched a Smart City Platform in 2017 and made it public in 2019 for all citizens. This platform can be accessed via any device that has an internet connection. It provides the users with various real-time information: from traffic jams and natural disasters to local news and even the up-to-date price of tomatoes.
Flooding Events Monitoring & Management In Dublin
The city suffers from numerous flooding events over the year, and the Low-Cost Gully Monitoring initiative has been presented to solve the problem. A network of the connected sensors placed across the city drainage ditches shows in real-time the state of each gully. The outcome of this system is a more efficient allocation of resources to the areas that need it most, timely response to overloaded gullies to prevent road closures, and enough real-time data to predict flooding events.
Technologies empowering smart cities continue to evolve. Smart city as a market is expected to grow almost six times by 2030 compared to 2020 and reach a value of USD 670,424.1 million (data source). Despite different challenges each city is trying to solve, the future trends will gravitate to increased city sustainability, resilience, and greenness. More and more smart city innovations are going to be human-centered, attempting to optimize the time-and-space dimension of social interactions. Eventually, a city is defined by people who live in it and then by technologies accommodating their well-being.