Try to picture the state environment where you currently live and define it with an adjective that comes to mind. It might be beautiful, warm, or even modernized, but is it smart? This further begs the question of what a smart city is and how we can make a conventional city become a smart one. Moreover, what are the benefits to be enjoyed by equipping a city with the capability to be smart?
This exegesis begins with the definition of what a smart city is.
What are Smart Cities?
The basic definition is that a smart city uses digital technologies, information and communication technology (ICT), and other sustainable development strategies to better the lives of citizens. There’s a study that postulates that by the year 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will live in cities and going by the current state of most of our cities, this will come with several issues.
The menace of global warming still persisting, effective management of the resource available will become a top priority by then. This coupled with improving the public service efficiency will be the major pain point to resolve.
Thankfully, a smart city promises to improve traditional operations, create new service channels, enhance the efficiency of existing services, and ultimately make the life of citizens more comfortable. Creating a smart city via IoT will also help in managing any occurrence of population explosion and ensure appropriate allocation of resources.
The ways in which this is achievable are numerous, but some of the key benefits of smart cities will be touched on in the following paragraphs.
1. Security will be Improved
It is not unusual that the security of the city will be paramount, especially with the expected influx of people. So far, efforts have been directed at Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV cameras) and this has proven useful. Advancements such as facial recognition, and protection against hazards like fire, smoke, and intrusion will make all the difference.
Using IoT technology will even further optimize the technology, facilitating the swift response of necessary organizations. The smart city initiative will also serve as a deterrent for members of the public who plan to perpetrate evil acts.
2. Energy Efficiency
You might not really appreciate the benefit of energy efficiency if you do not understand what is at stake. Ideally, our grid infrastructure is hundreds of years old and only a fraction of the total installation is modernized to handle the current population in several cities. However, rather than building more power generation facilities (which will incur the cost of transmission also), we can reduce the energy consumed by using energy efficient devices.
A smart city is one that is optimized to drastically reduce energy consumption via smart energy meters, smart home appliances, etc.
3. Cost Savings
ABI Research published a white paper in 2017 and they predicted that smart city tech has the potential to save organizations, citizens, and the government over 5 trillion dollars annually by the year 2022. This might seem far-fetched at first, but when you think of the advancement we have made in artificial intelligence, 5G networks, and nanotechnology, the picture begins to form.
4. Economic Boom
There’s a difference between saving money and generating more revenue. A smart city is a perfect recipe for doing both! As we know, a smart city will attract more businesses and the several exciting projects will improve the economy and reduce unemployment. Businesses will also throng to smart cities to enjoy the opportunities for growth. Furthermore, companies will see improved profit margins because their operating cost will be significantly reduced.
5. Improved Traffic Situation
This is the part that appeals to many of us. The Auto Insurance Center recently released a study that the average commuter wasted 42 hours in traffic. This is a typical work week, and almost a thousand dollars lost, just sitting in traffic. Moreover, the imminent migration to urban cities means that this situation is not expected to decrease anytime soon.
A smart city will employ sophisticated technology to monitor certain traffic patterns and congestion points and then provide drivers with real-time info as regards the best route to take. Accident-prone locations are also mapped out and drivers can be alerted about safe driving practices.
Perhaps, the major advantage of a smart city is the collaboration for sustainability. Everyone has to work together for the future he or she desires. The aforementioned benefits are just a fraction of what internet of things has to offer us.