Governments across the world have invested in urban planning for centuries. Countries have attempted to create better cities by building roads and transportation to enhance connectivity, keeping industrial areas away from residential areas, and ensuring residents can get everything they need without traveling long distances.
The advent of IoT and advanced information technology have given governments a more sophisticated toolkit to build better cities. At the same time, these same technologies have also changed how residents communicate, go to work, or plan their activities.
To effectively leverage these technologies and to overcome the dynamic challenges that its residents face, governments worldwide are investing in smart cities.
What is a Smart City?
A smart city is a concept used to describe an urban area that offers an enhanced living and working experience to its residents with the help of technology. The concept doesn’t define the specific technology or a framework for the city but rather focus on the end result. There are considerable differences in how different governments or smart city projects define the end result, but themes of sustainability, connectivity, data-driven planning, and smart utility systems are common.
Many implementations often consider just one or two aspects of a smart city instead of a complete transformation. For instance, a city may implement a robust public transportation system, sensor-enabled traffic signals, IoT-powered utility meters, or air pollution sensors.
As the name implies, most smart city concepts discuss using technology to create better living conditions for residents. They often discuss sensors throughout the city to monitor various activities and conditions and take action in near real time. Most concepts also discuss a varying range of automation for traffic management, access control, and other processes.
Smart cities also often place a huge emphasis on sustainability. Many concepts discuss using renewable sources at least partially to meet the energy requirements of the city.
How can the Internet of Things help build a smart city?
IoT systems can collect and process a wide range of data from systems and environments. With this data, they can streamline processes and automate activities that keep a city running.
Here are five applications of IoT in a smart city.
Efficient energy management
IoT systems can help smart cities better manage their energy requirements. IoT sensors can provide real-time insights into the energy consumption in different systems and help cities manage their energy usage.
With IoT, cities can build smart grids that can distribute electricity efficiently and effectively with the least energy losses. Besides electricity, cities can also manage other utilities such as gas and water using IoT. It can help track the consumption of these utilities and manage them more effectively. Cities can also use smart utility meters to streamline billing using the Internet of Things.
Many cities have also already implemented more efficient street lighting using IoT. These lights often feature motion and light sensors and timers and won’t be turned on unnecessarily.
Smooth and robust transportation systems
The Internet of things can streamline transportation systems in a city. With detailed sensor data, the city can create better schedules and ensure that vehicles run on time.
The city can also create better parking systems. For instance, London implemented a smart parking system that shows drivers parking locations available nearby. By reducing the number of cars driving around looking for a parking spot, the city was able to reduce the congestion to an extent.
IoT systems can also automate toll collection for transportation projects. Manual toll collection often creates huge bottlenecks, but RFID toll collection systems can create a better experience for drivers and passengers.
Effective waste management
Waste management systems in most cities are not energy or resource efficient. Cities spend considerable resources to collect, separate, and dispose off waste material from homes and residential buildings.
With the help of IoT systems, cities can create better schedules for collecting waste. They can also ensure that the different waste disposal equipment is in good condition and prevent unplanned downtime.
Robust access management is crucial to ensure the safety and security of residents and assets in an area. Security guards and patrol teams can help, but they’re very resource intensive and in some cases not very effective.
By combining IoT-based access management and security system with security teams, smart cities can better ensure the safety of their residents and their assets. They can also reduce the resource requirements and automate safety to a large extent.
Environment monitoring systems
IoT sensors can keep track of pollutants and harmful substances in the environment and raise alerts to keep the residents safe. They can control indoor air purifiers based on pollution data and keep the residents safe without increasing energy bills.
The data from these environment monitoring systems can also help the city build long-term pollution control plans and systems.
What are the benefits of using IoT in a smart city?
Here are some of the benefits of using IoT in a smart city:
Enhanced visibility into the operations
IoT systems help managers and decision-makers get better insight into their operations and activities. These sensors offer granular insights into their city and help them figure out inefficiencies and bottlenecks.
For instance, the sensors can help officials figure out which areas of the city have the most pollution, if there are variations throughout the day or seasons, and if any of the steps they’re taking are working.
Similarly, they can improve all the different activities that keep the city running.
Data-driven decision-making and planning
With IoT, city officials don’t have to rely on estimates or best practices to plan their activities. They can use concrete data to understand their city and get a clear picture of what the city needs.
If a certain part of the city is facing huge traffic, they can focus on improving the public transport systems. If the city is facing an energy crisis, the city officials can get a clear picture of the resident’s’ consumption patterns and take steps to manage energy usage.
An enhanced experience for residents
IoT systems offer a better experience for residents. These systems can make their lives more convenient, safer, and less stressful.
Reach out to Bridgera for cutting-edge smart city solutions
Bridgera has worked with construction companies and city officials all over the world to develop state-of-the-art smart city solutions. Our solutions are designed for the end-users and ensures that they have the best experience. The combination of Bridgera’s custom IoT platform and robust sensors and actuators creates a smooth experience for both the residents and managers.
Ready to invest in a smart city? Reach out to us now…