We live in a time when we witness technological advancements progress rapidly. Ever since the start of the Internet, we saw the world growing with all the power that connectivity brings. The decade came where we have smart jewelry, watches, phones, and homes. And they are all interconnected, communicate with each other, and share the final output with us to notify or warn us of any change. There’s no need to wonder if we’ve left our AC on. Now we can check it via an app, and in case it’s on, we can turn it off remotely.
And there’s more than just the AC that can be controlled. So it’s no wonder that 57% people who use IoT devices claim that they save time. It’s also not strange that we have more than 175 million smart homes globally and that number keeps rising. The next logical step is smart cities. These cities of the future will utilize the Internet of Things for sustainable development practices and address the challenges of urbanization.
The Power of a Smart City
Those who live in a smart city will engage in its ecosystem via their phones and other mobile devices, cars, and home appliances. This connection can cut costs in many industries and improve sustainability. But what’s the real power of a smart city? Let’s list just a few examples.
Smart poles can charge electric cars. The old street lighting will give way to smart poles, which will act as surveillance systems, connected to the city’s security department, and as a recharging station for electric cars and even mobile devices. Smart poles can help traffic management by collecting information about accidents, parking, crime, weather, and more. They can gather and analyze the data and improve decision making in urban environments.
Smart buildings, as a part of the smart city, work similarly to smart homes. They control the building’s operations, such as heating, ventilation, and security. Like the poles, smart buildings can collect data, helping the owners and facility managers improve their performance. Smart buildings reduce energy use and minimize the environmental effects of buildings.
Waste management can be improved. With the use of IoT devices in a smart city, the level of waste in the bins and containers can be measured, and the data can be sent to waste pickup trucks. Eventually, the historical data can be used, and the garbage truck routes can be optimized to only deal with the container that needs to be emptied, thus lowering the operational costs.
Flow, pressure, and water distribution around the smart city can be tracked with smart water management. The use of technology can improve water distribution mechanisms and bring down costs. With the increase of population and urbanization, smart water management can help cities balance out the supply and demand of water.
Smart Cities and Challenges
There’s a growing need to regulate the stakeholders who can affect a smart city’s economic development. Still, there’s a lack of legislation, and many of the stakeholders are careful when it comes to sharing their data. This affects the lawmakers in creating the policies to back the research and development.
Another difficulty that smart cities are facing is the lack of funding. Projects are often left unfinished due to the lack of funds. Public-private partnerships remain one of the ways to deal with this financial challenge.
Potential privacy issues of the citizens are the number one challenge to tackle in the cities of the future. Since IoT connected devices continuously collect and analyze data, they are very susceptible to cybercrime. Citizens may also find cameras on smart street lights intrusive to their privacy. This can be solved by educating the citizens but also securing the connections between devices.
Most smart technology is currently in the pre-commercial stage, and business models that can roll out the smart technology are barely developed. Also, there’s a lack of technology-related skills and capacity. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done when it comes to these issues, but wait and see what the future brings.
Why We Need Smart Cities
The growing population means that some resources are becoming sparse. There’s a social and economic disparity, which creates problems in the communities around the globe. Since technology develops fast, we can use the powers of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things to build smart cities, which can gradually deal with a few of these issues.
Smart cities improve the community by elevating the quality of life of an individual. Smart homes can lessen the expenses and optimize the resources, helping their owners save money and time. Public properties such as schools, roads, and hospitals can also be improved. With smart homes and cities, our environment and our health can become better.
The Internet of Things is a game-changer that slowly transforms the modern world before our eyes. The IoT market is growing and it’s only a matter of time when we will be surrounded by a grid of connected devices that communicate with each other. They will have the power to provide humans with what we need to refine and upgrade our lifestyle.
Ilija is a researcher, writer and contributor. With a degree in global economics, statistics and business management he first started writing about personal finance but his real passion is in the eco-friendly tech niche. Topics such as recycling and various applications of IoT. As a content strategist, his goal is to spot the perfect place for the perfect word. He lives in a cabin on the outskirts of the city, enjoying the smell of handmade wooden furniture and pine trees.