October 12, 2017
The idea of a “smart city” is swiftly becoming a reality. This is due to the ongoing rollout of the IoT (Internet of Things) — the ever evolving number of devices in our business and personal lives that are online and connected.
What exactly is a Smart City?
The term “smart city” refers to the section of IoT that pertains to running our municipal and civic amenities, and infrastructure, from road and transport systems to power distribution and waste collection. Smart technology helps improve citizen access to democratic processes like elections, open data, and decision-making.
Companies like IBM, Cisco, and AGT account for only a few of the corporations on the “Smart City” bandwagon, along with data-driven IoT systems in development, to enhance health conditions for the elderly, energy use, parking, waste management, transportation systems and even law enforcement.
A series of sensors all over the city collect data from garbage bins, parking spaces, traffic lights, and personal property such as vehicles, smartphones, and wearables. These sensors transmit information to the system core and activate a reaction in some cases.
The IoT in Smart City Development
Let us consider the six key verticals of a city: transport and tourism, environment, refuse collection, street lighting, and parking. In all of these areas of civic administration, the IoT initiatives can quickly drive the efficiencies with the help of easily-deployed or existing infrastructure.
A smart city platform is created based upon the open source standards, and which accumulates sources from various services in the city, combining public and private data. The importance is that this indicates how a city can progress from being an efficient city to an intelligent city.
In waste management, the sensors attached to all the garbage bins report how close they are to capacity in real-time. This allows for efficient allocation of resources to emptying them. It also indicates key performance indicators (KPIs) can be tied more closely to bottom-line impact — the number of bins that are almost filled and will not be emptied within the next few hours — instead of abstracted variables which could be monitored previously, like the number of garbage collection trucks on the road.
Playing to another of the smart city initiatives’ strengths, you can create different applications to allow diverse groups of people to be benefited from the available data and tools. In this particular case, citizens can use a Smartphone app that enables them to tag overflowing bins in their neighborhood. Targets can be set for how swiftly contractors are expected to resolve the situation and claim their fee.
The sensor data is integrated with demographic and population data from open sources. For instance, how many people above the age of 60 are affected by overflows. An 80-year-old person cannot walk for a kilometer because his/her container is full. So, this provides the city greater info to serve its citizens in a much better way.
The sensors monitoring parking bays track the car parking in a smart city. This implies that the information can be obtained on the density of parking throughout the city in real-time. This allows for the setting of parking fees and, thus, a more even distribution of parking can be attained, reducing congestion and pollution.
The platform’s systems are created to help manage the environment monitor the pollution levels and air quality. Weather data along with the data from monitoring stations are utilized to make decisions on when the motorway speed limits must be put in place to stop the pollution levels become dangerously high in a particular area.
With the above-stated initiatives, it is evident that smart cities are becoming a reality. Learning to share data between the verticals has been the key to developing many of these new models for measuring and improving efficiency.
By 2025, it is estimated the IoT will have an annual economic impact of $1.7T in cities. The significance of Smart City platforms is a key mechanism to create a connected Smart City ecosystem, allow rapid delivery of new applications, and integrate new technologies.
The power of IoT can help cities:
- Enhance infrastructure and make present infrastructure more scalable.
- Create more cost-effective and efficient municipal city services.
- Improve quality of life, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance public transportation.
- Keep citizens engaged and safe in their community.
- Foster local technology, higher education and job opportunity.
- Enable sustainable economic growth.
Smart City platforms fulfill numerous tasks. Device and sensor data can be overwhelming due to its frequency, data format, connectivity methods, and volume. The ability to deal with this data is not native to conventional IT platforms. The only way to manage all the data generated by linking billions of unlinked objects is by having a Smart City platform with a strong software base able to operate at speed and at scale to analyze and compute various data formats and sources. Such a platform includes the flexibility to allow easy integration with other cloud enterprise applications and be fully integrated with the remaining IT infrastructure.
Daisy Ridley has been in the data management industry for more than 15 years now. She is presently working as a senior data analyst at Mindmajix.com. As a senior data analyst, she oversees and conducts the conversion of data into insights that will lead to informed business decisions. She also develops clear and well-structured analytical plans and analyzes large data-sets and this will include, analyzing administrative data, and other data-sets and statistical analysis of a mildly urgent/sensitive nature. Her previous experiences include data analyst at AltexSoft and 4Licensing Corp