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What is a Smart City – Technologies, Applications, Benefits, and Examples

What is a Smart City – Technologies, Applications, Benefits, and Examples

Tracy Watson

29/10/2020

7 min read

smart cities technology

Smart cities are no longer a vision of a distant future or something we can only see in science fiction movies. Thanks to new technologies, like the IoT, we already have many smart cities, and they are actively expanding. Municipal governments are using cellular and Low Power Wide Area solutions to boost the quality of their infrastructure, improve efficiency, and make it more convenient for residents and tourists to live in their city. Before we dive deeper into some of the technologies, let’s make sure that we are on the same page about what a smart city is. 

Smart City Definition 

A smart city uses technology to provide services and solve city problems. They use a framework made up mostly of Information and Communication Technologies to spot all kinds of short term and long term challenges posed by urbanization and address those issues before they snowball into big problems. Smart city technology is basically an intelligent network of connected devices that produce and share data to the cloud. All of this technology captures a lot of raw data that is further analyzed and used to improve the city. Citizens also engage with smart cities technology via smartphones and other mobile devices. All of this helps cut costs and make the entire city more sustainable. 

One of the most important aspects of smart cities is that they are data-driven. City officials can use the data to spot problems and offer real-time solutions. This makes the city more efficient, safer, and just more pleasant to live in. Now that we know what smart cities are let’s take a look at some practical applications of these technologies. 

what is a smart city

Real Life Smart Cities Examples

Barcelona is saving billions of dollars every year by installing smart energy systems such as: 

  • Smart streetlights that adjust the level of lighting on the street based on activity 
  • Parking sensors that let drivers know about vacant parking spaces via a mobile app
  • Garbage sensors and automated waste collection 

IoT smart city technology is also used in Singapore, where sensors are used to monitor crowd density and traffic patterns. In fact, the internet of things for smart cities can help reduce traffic congestion over the long term via connected traffic lights that receive data from sensors about the volume of traffic on the road and adjusting all of the traffic lights to actual road conditions to reduce the gridlock. These technologies are a win-win for both citizens and city officials because they make it a lot more convenient to live in a particular area while reducing costs. 

Why is there a Need for Intelligent Cities? 

Research from the United Nations shows that today, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this number is expected to reach 66% by 2050. Cities are also expanding, which is causing all kinds of sustainability issues that need to be addressed now to avoid complications down the road. The types of technologies we mentioned above and many other ones will be critical to helping city officials launch new initiatives to make the city a better place to live. All of the devices will be connected by LTE Cat M, NB-IoT, LoRa, Bluetooth, and other technologies to allow for even more smart city applications. 

iot smart city

City officials will have access to data that has never been available before, paving the way for more effective, data-driven decision making. It will also help local governments deliver the services that their constituents are expecting. Collaboration tools, modern and intuitive websites, mobile applications, self-service portals, and convenient online accounts have become the standard in many facets of life, and citizens expect no less from their city. Finally, smart cities are a lot greener since they are so efficient. Even with a massive population that requires massive amounts of energy daily, smart cities build more energy-efficient buildings that are increasing sustainability and reducing the ecological footprint. 

Skywell Software Can Develop Smart Cities Concept

If you are looking to create smarter cities solutions, Skywell Software has extended expertise in IoT, cloud computing, location-based services, and data analytics to create exactly the right solution to fit your needs. We can help your city integrate new and legacy infrastructure into a comprehensive system allowing you to manage the city more efficiently and bring visible improvements to your constituents’ lives. 

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