A municipality that uses ICT or information and communication technologies to accentuate efficiency in operations, share crucial information with the general public, and work towards the improvement of the quality of government services and the welfare of the citizens can be defined as a Smart City. People might have different definitions of a smart city.
Still, overall, the comprehensive mission of a smart city is to make the most of the city’s functions and boost the city’s economic growth while using smart technology to uplift the quality of life. It’s not about how much technology a smart city might have. Rather, it’s about how the city uses it. Following is the difference between smart cities and other cities.
Characteristics of a Smart City
Before diving into how smart cities differ from other cities, you must know what defines a smart city and its characteristics. A smart city has a few major characteristics. The list includes infrastructure based on technology, initiatives taken to improve the environment, a highly efficient public transportation system.
Besides that, it also needs a proper sense of urban planning and a good part of the population living in the city and utilizing its resources. A strong and fruitful relationship between the government and the private sector makes a city smart.
Now, why is that relationship important? It’s because the private sector joins hands with the government. It works towards creating and maintaining a digital and data-driven environment in the city. One company provides the sensors. Another provides the cameras. And yet another provides the server for the surveillance equipment that the government plans to install on the busy street.
Aside from that, the government may hire independent contractors to analyze the data and report back. If there are problems in the analyzed data, the government may hire an application development team. The government might make this company part of the regular management and updating system. Therefore, building a positive relationship becomes more important than completing a single project if a smart city has to be successful.
Technology Used in a Smart City
IoT, or the Internet of Things, connects devices to communicate and exchange data. This includes sensors, vehicles, or home appliances. It provides major support. The IoT sensors and devices collect the data and deliver it to the servers or cloud, storing all the information. To run a smart city, you need a combination of IoT devices, user interfaces, communication networks, and software solutions.
The connection between such devices and the use of Data Analytics enables the merger of the digital and physical elements of the city. It boosts the efficiency of the public and the private sector, the quality of life, and economic growth. Edge computing is one of the characteristics of these IoT devices. This processing capability makes sure that the most relevant information happens over the communication network.
A firewall security system plays an important role in protecting, monitoring, and controlling network traffic in a computing system. The other technologies used to run a smart city are APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), M2M(Machine to Machine), Cloud Computing, Dashboards, and Mesh Network.
How Does a Smart City Work?
The network of IoT devices, along with other technologies, helps smart cities attain the goals of boosting the quality of life in the city. It also helps them work towards the growth of the city’s economy. Smart cities achieve success by going through four major steps. First comes the collection. Data collection happens in real-time with the help of smart sensors. Second, analysis. A detailed analysis of the collected data carries out to extract meaningful insights.
Third, communication. The insights extracted after analyzing the collected data are communicated through communication networks to the decision-makers. Once the insights from the analyzed data travel through the communication network to the decision-makers, they are used to develop solutions, optimize resources, and improve the quality of life. Last but not least, action.
Examples of Smart Cities
Examples of smart cities that are way ahead in development are Singapore, New York City, Tokyo, London, Toronto, Melbourne, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kansas City, San Diego, Columbus, Missouri, Barcelona, Vienna, and Reykjavik. The primary objective of building a smart city is to create an environment that provides a high quality of life to the city’s residents. It also generates economic growth at the same time. Do you live in a smart city? What’s the one thing according to you that’s paramount in a smart city? Share your thoughts in the comments section.