iOT and SMART Technologies
A Discussion About iOT and SMART Cities"Doing Things Smart"
A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information that is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that are processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT) to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving.
ICT is used to enhance quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to increase contact between citizens and government. Smart city applications are developed to manage urban flows and allow for real-time responses. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple “transactional” relationship with its citizens. Yet, the term itself remains unclear to its specifics and therefore, open to many interpretations..
While there are many definitions of a smart city, in general, a smart city utilizes IoT sensors, actuators and technology to connect components across the city, and it impacts every layer of a city, from underneath the streets, to the air that citizens are breathing. Data from all segments is analyzed, and patterns are derived from the collected data.
There are key technologies that make smart city work. Here are the top six:
1. Smart energy
“Lighting is ubiquitous—it’s everywhere that people work, travel, shop, dine, and relax. Digital communications and energy-efficient LED lighting is revolutionizing urban lighting infrastructures already in place, transforming them into information pathways with the capacity to collect and share data and offer new insights that enable, and really drive, the smart city,”
Overall energy usage is also part of a smart city. “Many may have experienced this already with the installation of smart meters at their homes. But with the rise of home solar power systems and electric vehicles, hardware and software technology will allow for the potential of better grid management, optimization of power production through different sources and distributed energy production. Furthermore, buildings that monitor their energy usage actively and report this data to utilities can reduce their costs. This will ultimately lead to lower pollution and much better efficiency as cities become more urbanized,
And there are also smart grids and smart meters. “Smart grid solutions play an important role in the development of smart cities. From prepaid energy applications to advanced metering infrastructure, there are several solutions to enhance energy services. With a smart grid, you can improve outage detection, speed of data capture, continuing and disaster recovery, field service operations and overall grid modernization techniques,”
2. Smart transportation
A smart city supports multi-modal transportation, smart traffic lights and smart parking.
“One of the key areas that we have seen a lot of activity on has to do with mobility. Anything around transportation, traffic monitoring, parking,” said Sanjay Khatri, director of product marketing and IoT services for Jasper. “These are areas where cities are seeing a very fast return on investment. It not only helps to reduce the cost of monitoring parking and making sure that they are collecting fines, it’s also reducing congestion.”
By making parking smarter, people spend less time looking for parking spots and circling city blocks. Smart traffic lights have cameras that monitor traffic flow so that it’s reflected in the traffic signals.
Even city buses are becoming connected, so that people have real time information on when a bus will arrive at a bus stop. In Australia, traffic lights are prioritized based on the bus schedules so that traffic flows more freely during rush hours.
3. Smart data
The massive amounts of data collected by a smart city must be analyzed quickly in order to make it useful. Open data portals are one option that some cities have chosen in order to publish city data online, so that anyone can access it and use predictive analytics to assess future patterns. Companies such as CommunityLogiq are working with cities to help them analyze data, and they’re in the Startup in Residence (STiR) program for the city of San Francisco.
The pervasiveness of technology and the expansion of open data policies is about to unleash an economic growth engine for urban innovation that we have never seen. We are moving from analyzing data that exists within city hall, to generating new data from sensors that are deployed all across cities for use by multiple departments and people for multiple uses.
Even the data collected by streetlights can be used to benefit citizens. Hidden within the exponential volumes of data collected from connected lighting systems and other IoT devices are valuable insights and information about how citizens interact with cities. For instance, traffic data captured by streetlights can uncover a prime location for a new restaurant in a revitalized neighborhood. Predictive analytics helps cities filter and translate data into relevant and actionable information that makes city life better, easier, and more productive
4. Smart infrastructure
Cities will be able to plan better with a smart city’s ability to analyze large amounts of data. This will allow for pro-active maintenance and better planning for future demand. Being able to test for lead content in water in real time when the data shows a problem is emerging could prevent public health issues.
Having a smart infrastructure means that a city can move forward with other technologies and use the data collected to make meaningful changes in future city plans.
5. Smart mobility
Mobility refers to both the technology and the data which travels across the technology. The ability to seamlessly move in and out of many different municipal and private systems is essential if we are to realize the promise of smart cities. Building the smart city will never be a project that is “finished.” Technology needs to be interoperable and perform to expectations regardless of who made it or when it was made. Data also needs to be unconstrained as it moves between systems, with all due attention to intellectual property, security and privacy concerns. For this, public policy and legal technology needs to be state of the art,
6. Smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices
And finally, one of the key components that tie everything together in a smart city is IoT devices.
Whether we like it or not, sensors and actuators in our cities are here to stay. Fusing sensor information into our daily life and integrating it all with third party social networks will knit the fabric of society closer together, while leaving city leaders to grapple with serious privacy and security challenges,
Sensors are essential in a smart city, said Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave Technologies. Allen said that a smart city has “a wide range of reporting devices such as sensors, visibility devices and other end points that create the data that makes a smart city work “SMART”. The following are key SMART focus areas:
- Smart Environment
- Smart Water
- Smart Security
- Parking & Traffic
- Plug & Sense!
- Big data analysis
- Trash Management
- Better Citizen Management
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