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General overview on the concept of Smart Cities

What is a Smart City, precisely, and why is it getting so much traction?

Advances in hardware and software design have resulted in a fast proliferation of information and communication technologies in recent years (ICTs). The improved efficacy of city operations has been attributed to the use of ICT in various forms in cities for various city activities, and these cities have been dubbed “cyberville,” “digital city,” “electronic city,” “information city,” “wired city,” and “smart city.”

Academics and practitioners have yet to reach an agreement on a consistent and unambiguous definition of the smart city. In a word, a smart city is an area in which cutting-edge networks and offerings are made flexible, efficient, and sustainable through using information, digital, and telecommunication technology to enhance operations for the benefit of its citizens. To put it another way, in a smart city, digital technology translates into improved public services for residents and better resource management while having a lower environmental impact.

A smart city collects data via the use of various electrical systems and sensors. The data is utilized to generate insights into how to efficiently manage assets, resources, and services, and the data is then used to improve the city’s operations.
 
Data and digital technology are used in smart cities to assist residents to make better decisions and enhance their quality of life. With more precise, real-time data, agencies may follow events as they occur, examine how demand patterns are changing, and respond with faster, lower-cost solutions. Smart cities rely on a variety of technologies, including the internet of things (IoT), mobile solutions, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain. The primary goals of a smart city are to enhance policy efficiency, reduce waste and irritation, improve social and economic quality, and boost social inclusion.
 
Barcelona, for example, built a new intelligent bus network based on information on how passengers used public transportation. This new network is more efficient, and it provides high-quality bus service to 95% of the city’s people. Better and more frequent bus service is now available thanks to the upgraded bus network. Bus stations are very well connected to other modes of transportation.
 
GPS sensors are being used by the city to improve emergency medical services. Ambulances are detected by traffic lights, which adjust their output to allow emergency services to move through the city as rapidly as possible while avoiding dangerous circumstances.
 
As suggested by the IMD World Competitiveness Center’s Smart City Observatory, in collaboration with Singapore University of Technology and Design, the top ten smartest cities in 2019 are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, Auckland, Taipei City, Helsinki, Bilbao, and Dusseldorf (SUTD).

Smart cities are thriving and flourishing all over the world. Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, observed, “Economic realities cannot be ignored: cities in poorer nations confront disadvantages, which will require particular initiatives to remedy along the route to smartness.”
 

HOW TO KNOW A SMART CITY

1. Infrastructure Development
Infrastructure development is prioritized in a smart city to boost economic, social, cultural, and urban growth. This is why it strives to improve communication channels so that services like housing, entertainment, telecommunications, and business, among others, may be linked with the use of new technology to help a city grow and develop.
 
2.                 Creating a Competitive Environment
Smart cities strive to create a competitive environment in the sector through information and communication technologies (ICT) and planning to expand urban sectors, consequently promoting the development of new enterprises and improving the city’s socio-economic performance.

3.                 Cities That Are Both Inclusive And Sustainable
The major strategic feature of a smart city will be sustainability, which will be used to identify participation drivers, establish improved consumption habits and energy management, and employ renewable energies to preserve natural resources and protect the environment.
 


BENEFITS OF SMART CITIES

1.    Improved Traffic Flow
Traffic is one of the major annoyances for many city inhabitants, but smart city technology has some alternatives. For example, public transit routes can change in real-time to match demand, and intelligent traffic lights can help minimize traffic congestion and improve flow. Smart technology can also alert residents to take public transportation during off-peak hours. Riders of public transit in several locations can follow their bus or train destinations and, if necessary, change routes.

2.    Cities That Are Safer
Smart city technology such as Wi-Fi, IoT, and surveillance cameras can increase citizen safety and minimize incident response times. Body cameras, networked crime centres, and license plate recognition can provide law enforcement with detailed and timely information. New surveillance camera technology such as face recognition, fire and smoke alarm capabilities, and even the locking and unlocking of doors, all help to lessen the risk of crime. These technologies work together to make communities safer.

3.    Infrastructure That Has Been Upgraded
Roads, bridges, and buildings are all infrastructure components that require significant maintenance and repair as they age. Predictive analytics, for example, can identify areas that need to be corrected before a breakdown occurs using smart city technologies. In buildings and bridges, smart sensors detect structural changes, tilts, and cracks. After that, the sensors send out data indicating the need for inspections or maintenance.
4.    Data-Driven Decision-Making Is More Effective.
Cities now have access to information that was previously unavailable due to advances in “big data” and linked technologies. A well-thought-out data analytics approach allows city authorities to readily access and analyze vast amounts of data to derive relevant, actionable insights. When a city’s intended metrics can be monitored in real-time, service levels immediately improve.

Effective big data applications and methods can help a city identify and staff police in high-risk areas, estimate and plan for a citywide population increase, and discover patterns in citizen interests, concerns, and behaviours.

Smart city technology is evolving in tandem with the expansion and growth of metropolitan areas, boosting sustainability and better serving humanity. We can align increasing smart city needs for a far better experience for all ecosystem partners by leveraging pervasive connectivity, open data, end-to-end security, and software monetization solutions.
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