smart cities
Hand showing Internet of things (IoT) word diagram as concept

A new study conducted by Juniper Research and sponsored by technology firm Intel, estimates that smart cities technologies have the potential to give back 125 hours to citizens every year.

According to the study, smart cities which make use of IoT concepts will positively impact on the daily lives of residents.

For instance, the use of sensors, meters and lights to collect and analyse data will help improve public infrastructure and services.

Rapid increases in urban population is expected to pressurise resources in urban settlements.

The UN predicts two thirds of the world’s population will live in densely packed megacities by 2030.

Therefore, the study says the use of smart city technologies would help improve water, energy and traffic management and avoid the occurrence of incidents such as a 12 day long traffic jam, the world’s worst which occurred in Japan in August 2010. Cars could not escape 60 miles of freeway.

Ranking smart cities

The study ranks the world’s top 20 smart cities on four key areas, mobility, health care, public safety and productivity.

Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco and Singapore are the world’s leading cities integrating IoT technologies and connected services.

The report also found that:

Mobility: The average peak-time vehicle speed in cities is a dismal 4 mph. This gridlock causes drivers to lose up to 70 hours per year hence the need for cities to use an integrated IoT-enabled infrastructure of intelligent traffic systems, safer roads, directed parking, frictionless toll and parking payments can give back up to 60 hours a year.

Health: The study found that smart cities with connected digital health services can play a significant role in creating efficiencies – saving citizens almost 10 hours a year – and even potential lifesaving benefits for both patients and caregivers.

Public Safety: Improvements in public safety can deliver substantial time benefits for smart city citizens – nearly 35 hours per year.

Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research, said:  “Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world.

“We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”

Sameer Sharma, global general manager of smart cities IoT solutions at Intel, added: “Cities are engines of economic activity, and we as an industry need to make them more resilient and responsive.

“Partnerships between city planners, government officials, private companies, OEMs, software developers and startups are creating smart city ecosystems that will empower citizens while reducing our carbon footprint.”