Rapid urbanization is leading to smarter cities that improve the lives of citizens through technology. This comprehensive guide details the important aspects of a smart city.
As the world becomes increasingly more urban, with 60% of its population forecast to live in cities by 2050, cities are becoming more technologically advanced. This type of city is known as a smart city and the goal is to improve the quality of the lives of citizens through better communication and the services offered while reducing overall costs.
- What it is: A smart city uses IoT sensors and technology to connect components across a city to derive data and improve the lives of citizens and visitors.
- What it does: Oftentimes, a mobile app is provided to give immediate access to data, communication channels and more, so that people can do everything from avoiding traffic jams, to finding a parking spot, reporting a pot hole, or an overflowing dumpster.
- Why it matters: The world is becoming more urbanized, and by 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Making these cities better places to live is essential to quality of life by making them more sustainable and efficient with streamlined services.
- Who it affects: It affects everyone on the planet.
- When is this happening: This is happening now.
- Where is this happening: Early adopters of smart city technology were European cities, but U.S. cities have quickly picked up steam and are incorporating technology into municipal infrastructure.
- Who is making it happen: Public and private companies, as well as federal, state and city government are getting involved to make it easier for municipalities to adopt new technology.
- How to get it: Citizens can form a grassroots campaign to get support and ask government officials to incorporate more technology into their city.
What it is
There is a range of definitions of a smart city, but the consensus is that smart cities utilize IoT sensors, actuators and technology to connect components across the city. This connects every layer of a city, from the air to the street to underground. It’s when you can derive data from everything that is connected and utilize it to improve the lives of citizens and improve communication between citizens and the government that a city becomes a smart city, said Esmeralda Swartz, head of strategy and marketing of the software business unit for Ericsson.
Gartner analyst Bettina Tratz-Ryan said, “Our definition of smart cities is around how you become efficient at optimizing certain technologies or operations or infrastructures. How you can start to share outcome or best practices with each other and generate not just best practices but generate citizen outcome or context. The contextual services where you don’t only look at a citizen but you look at a person with individual needs or business groups with very specific needs. That constitutes a smart city.”
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