What is a Smart City?
A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic Internet of things sensors to collect data. Insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used improve the operations across the city.
IoT applications for Smart Cities:
- Smart Waste Management
Tracking trash and customer data helps to process and manage regular collection.
The IoT is becoming a major player in the smart cities market, making cities safer, cleaner, and more sustainable. Consider how trash collection normally works. Trash trucks follow a specific schedule, collecting trash and recycling bins on pre-defined routes. While they are equipped with GPS units, using the IoT can optimize and improve waste management. With the IoT, you can make adjustments to trash collection based on the data collected, improving efficiency and extending your reach. This can help to reduce traffic and contribute to a cleaner city.
- Smart Farming
Monitor plant growth, soil conductivity, and pesticide application rate.
Agriculture is the foundation of our existence. Most people in the world depend on the food supply coming from farmlands. Increasingly, demand to have the same high quality fruits and vegetables year-round has led to a need to place agricultural produce in more remote areas and in colder climates, both of which requires even more advanced methods to produce such products. Farmers, agriculturists, and agricultural workers can all benefit from the IoT for food-related applications, including monitoring plant growth, soil conditions, and pesticide application levels.
- Smart Water & Waste Water Management
Monitor and manage automatic water pumps, sewage and chemical treatment plants.
When on its own, water can be clean. But when traveling through pipes or reservoirs, wastewater can become contaminated with bacteria and other impurities. Sewage can become more concentrated and pollutant, making it more challenging to treat and release into the environment. If the water is improperly treated and released into the water supply, this can lead to a wide range of issues. With appropriate sensors and advanced analytic algorithms, wastewater management can use smart connected IoT solutions to monitor and manage automatic pumps, sewage and chemical treatment facilities and water quality at key locations.
- Sustainable Sustainability
Monitor and manage street lights, irrigation managers, and parking spaces.
Smart cities and their inhabitants require sustainable systems that are aware of local conditions and optimal resources. Fixed and mobile sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, and energy, providing insights on resource consumption over time. This data is information can help city planners and engineers anticipate problems related to connected infrastructure and reduce waste. Ultimately, this can lead to reduced energy consumption and savings along with a healthier environment.
- Smart Urban Planning
Maintain street lights and traffic management.
The IoT has the ability to simplify, dynamize, and monetize the way cities function and plan for the future. GPS sensors can be used to monitor, evaluate, and analyze data for street lights based on when they are needed, traffic, and air quality. This can help to plan out cities’ roadways, plan for mass transit, and better manage a city’s resources. And while humans are busy building the cities, the IoT can help them to construct better cities, making them more efficient and cleaner.
- Smart Education
Improve student safety and provide communications for students.
Everybody wants their kids to be safe. Local, state, and federal governments are working together to provide public schools with the best in surveillance and safety technology, allowing parents and security personnel to track student movement and police to respond quickly to any student security breaches in real-time. In addition to helping to improve security across the board, the IoT can help schools improve communication and track data related to student attendance, bus route times, and school lunch menus.
- Smart Healthcare
Improve patient safety and health monitoring, supported by AI.
Healthcare systems are all very different and range from acute to critical care in different facilities. Some might be focused on pediatric care, some on elderly populations, and some on adult patient care. Regardless of the type of care being delivered, they all share one common element: the necessity to leverage technology to improve the quality of care delivered and the safety of patients. By monitoring and managing IoT-connected medical devices, hospitals can predict and react to problems before they become actual emergencies, and connect with doctors to provide better overall care.
- Smart Communities
Apply smart streetlights to collect data on traffic flows.
Cities are often divided up into districts. Each district may have a unique set of characteristics, but they are all united by the common theme of connectivity, which is at the foundation of all smart cities. Connectivity allows information to be shared across the entire city and beyond, connecting and managing data-driven systems in real-time. Sensors and technology capture and share data with the Internet of Things, allowing city planners and municipal organizations to create a roadmap of the future. With the IoT, you can connect streetlights, parking meters, and traffic signals to monitor and manage traffic flows.
- Smart Security
Monitor and manage public displays for local emergency alerts.
No matter where you are, you can almost always find a public display screen, a digital map, or a billboard – even when you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Cities can leverage and monitor this display infrastructure to relay information to and from the public, ensuring the government remains open and accessible. You can use these digital displays to broadcast critical information to the community. The Internet of Things can provide you with real-time information that can be displayed on these screens, providing local emergency alerts and information on road conditions before you reach those areas.
This information can be integrated with other systems to provide you with extended data on your current location, your destination, and your route between them.
- Smart Public Transportation
These buses can provide scheduled times, popular routes, and vehicle locations. The IoT can provide even more valuable information.
Public transportation is a necessity for the modern city. While cars provide a great deal of freedom to get wherever you’re going, they lack the flexibility of mass transit. Most people in major cities don’t always have the option to get to their destination by car. Alternatives include public transportation, which may be best for your specific needs. A well-implemented and connected infrastructure of interconnected displays and screens provide access to real-time information about public transportation, providing you with timely information about scheduled times, top routes, popular routes, and vehicle locations. The IoT can provide even more valuable information, such as delays and alternative routes. While you might not always be able to control the delays you face, you can control how you plan your trip to account for it and make the most of your time.
11. Smart Energy
Improve energy efficiency and production.
Wind turbines are a great source of clean renewable energy. Some smart wind farms also incorporate sensors that measure and collect data on wind speed and pressure, feed it to a processor, and use it input into the system to optimize energy production. This allows data to be collected and analyzed to improve the energy efficiency of the turbines and optimize the clean, renewable energy produced. Other wind farms rely on smart wind farm processors to optimize energy production and control the distribution of energy to the smart grid.
12. Smart Buildings
Capturing the flow of water and implementing an “Internet of pipes.”
Cities are big, and water is expensive. A smart city needs to be able to manage, maintain, and monitor flow of water and identify any problematic areas. It is within the best interest of any city to manage water flow to reduce misuse and ensure the highest level of efficiency. Once a city has a smart grid, they can use the IoT to manage supply, demand, and usage to ensure the connected water systems are working at their most effective.
The coming year will be a big year for Internet of Things. We’ll see a lot of new ideas and new uses for existing technology as cities improve and update their infrastructure. With that said, the opportunity for IoT to change our lives is only as good as the data collected. The quote that “garbage in, garbage out” has a lot of truth to it. If data is not collected correctly or is lacking in quality, it can lead to garbage answers to the queries you’re trying to answer.
- Smart Parking
Eco-friendly way of parking right from your dashboard.
In one example, the system surveys the amount of available parking spots, keeping track of areas that have open spaces that aren’t taken. Drivers who are looking for parking spots can access the list on their phones, and can reserve a spot that’s available before they get to the area. This not only has the benefit of letting people who live in urban areas know if parking will be available, but it provides certainty that they will have spots if more public transportation is developed.
- Smart Cars
Self-driving and autonomous vehicles are already a reality in some parts of the world. The systems in place to monitor traffic and assist other in safely navigating the roads is actively working to reduce traffic, accidents, and pollution. Many parts of the world are promoting self-driving cars and trucks to reduce traffic congestion, and the European Union is looking to implement a “robotaxi” program to help promote autonomous vehicle usage. The future of transportation is promising, and the IoT is one of the main tools we’ll use to get there.