Smart City

In this article, we explore how technology, more specifically big data and IoT, is transforming the development of smart cities.

The growing population and pressure on existing urban areas creates a significant challenge as to how we build and operate cities and improve the quality of life for billions of people worldwide.

The engineering industry is now rapidly exploring the technological options available, such as data analytics and IoT, to meet the rising challenges in urban areas. Technology In this article, we explore how technology, more specifically big data and IoT, is transforming the development of smart cities.

is being viewed as a solution to improving city transport links, energy usage, waste and water management and a range of other services that are integrated with urban living.

Smart cities are a complicated collection of various systems, including the urban individuals, various industries, government and local companies, all of which are trying to leverage new technologies.

Big data and analytics

Smart cities consistently generate a significant amount of data which is now being collected and made available. If managed, measured and analysed accurately, big data can provide vital insights and financial value for urban areas.

Urban stakeholders can utilise this data to enhance efficiency and develop innovative, new services that can overall improve the lives of the urban population. Cloud computing is a fine example of evolving technology that can leverage big data, capturing and analysing trends and patterns.

With technological improvements and reductions in overall costs, more resources are now accessible by city stakeholders. These services can allow urban areas to improve the overall efficiency of operations and services in the city.

This includes the ability to improve the efficiency of waste management in Boston by converting to a demand-driven approach; to London utilising data and analytics to map particular neighbourhoods to clearly understand planning and resource allocation.

The Internet of Things

Smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT) have been highlighted as a driving force in creating a new age for urban living and development. With a suggested range of benefits such as lower pollution levels, improved energy efficiency and an overall higher quality of life, a strong emphasis has been placed on new technology, and how it can be utilised in the progression of smart cities.

Updating existing urban infrastructure

To utilise the benefits of IoT and new technology in smart city development, changes will need to happen to the current urban infrastructure. For example, finding parking in an urban area is a common challenge for many individuals.

According to Information Age, the average driver in the UK spends nearly 60 hours a year trying to find a parking space! IoT technology can really improve this problem by clearly identifying available parking space to the driver and reducing time spent.

Cyber systems and the IoT are generally regarded as essential for the continued growth of smart cities. The IoT is rapidly changing the way traditional city services (such as energy and water) are monitored. Certain infrastructure which was traditionally monitored is now being connected using standard protocols.

This information is then made available through a range of web technologies. Reduced ‘hook up’ costs are also expanding sensing through city facilities. The energy industry is a fine example of sensing with many city buildings being ‘hooked up’ via smart energy meters.

The costs and availability of IoT technology today is allowing more and more companies to action infrastructure and utilise devices that most citizens tend to carry regularly.

Citizens are now able to be involved in sensing by utilising their devices (smartphones) to track urban factors such as air pollution or noise levels. The IoT is advancing a massive transformation in how we can sense and control the world we live in.

The rise of new technology has the opportunity to effectively contribute to the growth of smart cities. Smart cities need to ensure any infrastructure systems can be connected and provide aggregate efficiencies and support new services.

New technology can really help urban areas tackle the complex environmental, economic, and social challenges by allowing efficient and effective strategic planning. Big data and new technology can improve the overall efficiency of urban infrastructure, the supporting networks and the lives of the urban communities. This is just the beginning, and the potential benefits could go further. MI

Smart cities are a complicated collection of various systems, including the urban individuals, various industries, government and local companies, all of which are trying to leverage new technologies.

About the author

Matt Cook, is consulting director of Mint Selection

 

Featured image: Stock