How the application of technology in cities can enable its continued growth and improve the quality of life of citizens. Much more than a technological trend, the emergence of Smart Cities represents a historic revolution in the way they build and manage cities.
The motivating factor in this direction is strong: the number of people living in cities is growing, on average, 60 million a year, while those people are increasingly demanding regarding the quality of life offered by urban spaces. In this equation, technology plays an essential role, because it will allow much of the transformation.
The economic and social potential of these technologies is huge. McKinsey estimates show that applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) in cities probably will save 1.7 billion a year in 2025. The main benefits will be captured in the area of public health that will save about 700 billion dollars a year in ten years through the use of technology. Other sectors such as transport, resource management and security, also have a substantial impact of technology over the next decade.
The smart cities become possible through the concretization IoT. Brought to the urban environment, technologies that make the Internet of Things will provide intelligence to existing processes or create new ways of performing old tasks.
Real smart cities
A number of “invisible” technologies must be implemented in cities to become really smart. Pike Research forecasts that global market solutions for Smart Cities coupled with services for implementation will move to 408 billion dollars by 2020. It will impact on other segments (such as engineering and physical and logical infrastructure) that will move hundreds of billions of dollars in that period.
The transport sector will be one of the main beneficiaries with the possibility of adoption of intelligent traffic lights. The architecture of a Smart City involves building an infrastructure of robust networks and high presence, based on technological standards that allow it to grow, and at the same time ensure that investments are maintained over time.
Converged network infrastructure will support all services with high security and availability. It would consider not only the cost but quality and this network must be integrated millions of sensors scattered around the cities for the most varied purposes.
Instruments capable of collecting weather data and traffic information on the distribution of electricity, gas, and water, real time images are able to reproduce in each of its activities digitally. Finally, a significant investment is needed in processing power, storage and analytical solutions in the understanding of this ecosystem.
The big data analytics solutions
The big data analytics solutions that can able to process the petabytes of data collected and extract useful information will be the brains of future cities. You should add business rules and applications that allow technology to reach the end users and effectively impact the daily routine of citizens.
The transport sector is one of the main beneficiaries of the possibility of adoption of intelligent traffic lights as well as the management of public transport, which can gain efficiency and improve the quality of the user with information like bus stops information, smart routes, traffic information, etc. The possibility of the existence of autonomous cars (such as Tesla cars, Apple rumored car, Google self driving car, etc.) within a few years will create more applications that will improve traffic in cities.
The management of natural resources and urban conservation may also benefit from the technology. Sensors in the distribution networks of water and electricity contribute to reducing losses and fraud, and also allow the creation of new business models for public services.
More efficient garbage collection and cleaning of sewers, thanks to smell sensors and volume, will generate significant savings for the public purse, plus add intelligence to public lighting. Cisco studies predict that new technologies for public lighting can expect to save 10 billion dollars a year.
In addition, smart lighting in public environments in cities can also be used as a tool for public security and security cameras solutions that help prevent crime.
Who would not want to live in a city without traffic jams? Who would not want to live in a neighborhood with an efficient and sustainable collection of garbage? Everyone would like to live in a smart city.