Architects, engineers, and planners need to be smart when designing a smart city. Today, many businesses are focusing on digitalization, technology integration that can improve their business processes and remove inefficiencies. Even traditional trades (landscaping, auto-repair, interior design, real estate, etc.) are employing tech to provide easier billing, better social media presence, and faster growth to their business. Like all other industries, city design is also aiming to use technology and other advancements to ease the process of urbanization. From better connectedness to better lighting, here are all the elements of smart cities that will transform how modern cities operate.
The main goal of smart tech is to marry technology with infrastructure in order to improve how citizens communicate with each other and their environment and to boost their quality of life. The Internet of Things (IoT), the base of smart tech, allows people, objects, entities, and various systems to communicate via the internet. The IoT is quickly finding its place in public transport development, relaying important traffic parameters and reducing energy consumption on a minute-to-minute basis, practically in real-time. Smart cities try to develop more systems that use the IoT to communicate with each other, so they can solve burning issues before they grow into big problems. It also greatly helps with resource management which is great for the budget.
A smart city is a safe city, so these new urban settlements are using various applications to reduce fatalities and health crises from road accidents and fires to violent acts and pandemics. According to some estimates, smart safety features can save up to 300 lives every year in a five-million city. These applications can lower the number of burglaries, robberies, assaults, auto thefts, and other criminal activity by 30%. Law enforcement can use real-time data to use their resources more effectively, such as using crime mapping and statistics to prevent accidents. Call centers and field operatives can use integrated systems to adjust traffic to clear the way for emergency vehicles—this is just one concrete example of benefits. Safety features also have an effect on residents’ peace of mind, which is an important parameter that can’t be measured.
People who live and work in big cities start their every workday by squeezing into overcrowded public transport or getting stuck in traffic. By using smart-mobility applications, smart cities can cut commute time by up to 20%. While every application needs to be adapted for each individual city (they depend on infrastructure, density, commuting patterns, etc.), digital road signage and mobile apps, in general, provide motorists with real-time data on traffic jams, allowing them to adjust their routes and reduce commute time. Integrated parking apps can lead users directly to vacant spots, eliminating the need to cruise city blocks creating more traffic, and wasting precious work time.
When we look at the big picture, smart lighting is the first block in smart city building—it’s a base system that many urban hotspots start with when considering comprehensive integration and connectivity. Lighting sensors integrated into these lighting solutions improve public safety, traffic, and smart parking, but most city planners and officials focus on the money-saving benefits of smart lighting due to the reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance costs. A smart city that invests in the highest quality luminaires for a longer life span will manage to minimize energy loss and maintenance costs while maximizing the functionality of illuminated spaces. Plus, professional installation helps improve navigation after dark for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. In some cases, reliable smart lighting can also be installed in crime-prone areas thus lowering crime rates.
Sustainability is a word that can best define smart cities. With rapid urbanization, consumption and industrialization come increased environmental pressures which require smart solutions that will reduce waste and emission. Smart cities that employ water-consumption tracking and digital feedback can encourage businesses and individuals to conserve water (reducing water consumption up to 15%). Sensors and analytics focus maintenance efforts on critical points, greatly cutting losses. Smart building-automation systems, mobile apps, and dynamic electricity pricing are also used in big cities to reduce emissions.
Keeping all working devices in top condition and up to date is vital for network security and time reading. Since weak spots in the system are discovered all the time, experts must have quick access to components for easy patching, updating, and replacement of devices on the network without interfering with its operations. Thanks to modular infrastructure, smart cities, and their experts can keep all systems up to date while being able to make upgrades and replacements whenever they are needed.
Our cities are becoming smarter and smarter, which makes them more comfortable and aware of our needs and wishes. Technology that we have today is only the beginning of what we can expect to see in smart cities of tomorrow, but it’s a very comforting, interesting, safe, and green sneak peek into the future. We have a lot to look forward to!