IoT Technologies for Smart Cities

GUPTA, Gagan       Posted by GUPTA, Gagan
      Published: December 4, 2021

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What Exactly is a Smart City?

A smart city is a framework, predominantly composed of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to develop, deploy, and promote sustainable development practices to address growing urbanization challenges.

A big part of this ICT framework is an intelligent network of connected objects and machines (also known as a digital city) transmitting data using wireless technology and the cloud.

Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze, and manage data in real-time to help municipalities, enterprises, and citizens make better decisions that improve quality of life.

Citizens engage with smart city ecosystems in various ways using smartphones and mobile devices and connected cars and homes. Pairing devices and data with a city's physical infrastructure and services can cut costs and improve sustainability.

Communities can improve energy distribution, streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion, and improve air quality with help from the IoT.

For instance:
  - Connected traffic lights receive data from sensors and cars adjusting light cadence and timing to respond to real-time traffic, reducing road congestion.
  - Connected cars can communicate with parking meters and electric vehicle (EV) charging docks and direct drivers to the nearest available spot.
  - Smart garbage cans automatically send data to waste management companies and schedule pick-up as needed versus a pre-planned schedule.
  - And citizen's smartphone becomes their mobile driver's license and ID card with digital credentials, which speeds and simplifies access to the city and local government services.

By 2050, Gartner estimates that roughly 70% of the world's population will live in cities. The smart city is the only way to handle such growth.

Smart cities bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to life with a fabric of seamless connectivity that improves quality of life, stimulates economic growth, sustainably manages resources, and reduces pollution. It's more than just a vision. With one smart city up and running in Korea and more planned elsewhere, it's quickly becoming reality.

Features of Smart City

The main features of a smart city include a high degree of information technology integration and a comprehensive application of information resources. The essential components of urban development for a smart city should include smart technology, smart industry, smart services, smart management and smart life.

The Internet of Things is about installing sensors (RFID, IR, GPS, laser scanners, etc.) for everything, and connecting them to the internet through specific protocols for information exchange and communications, in order to achieve intelligent recognition, location, tracking, monitoring and management. With the technical support from IoT, smart city need to have three features of being :
- Instrumented
- Interconnected
- Intelligent

Only then a Smart City can be formed by integrating all these intelligent features at its advanced stage of IOT development. The explosive growth of Smart City and Internet of Things applications creates many scientific and engineering challenges that call for ingenious research efforts from both academia and industry, especially for the development of efficient, scalable, and reliable Smart City based on IoT. New protocols, architectures, and services are in dire needs to respond for these challenges. The goal of the special issue is to bring together scholars, professors, researchers, engineers and administrators resorting to the state-of-the-art technologies and ideas to significantly improve the field of Smart City based on IoT.

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IoT Technologies for Smart Cities
IoT Technologies for Smart Cities

Must have technologies for every Smart City

1. Traffic Management and Parking Solutions

Traffic woes are a major problem faced by city dwellers. IOT devices can help immensely in giving dynamic and intelligent solutions to ever increasing traffic problems and parking space. The IOT devices can help in avoiding traffic jams, suggest feasible time to travel and give parking information about crowded places. IOT monitored traffic signals can function on vehicle density instead of time bands. Parking sensors can suggest a spot free for parking. These measures will save time, energy, gas emissions and maintain an easy flow of traffic. Many European cities have incorporated these technologies successfully. A crowded city like Paris has minimized its traffic problem by adopting parking sensors. London is also working on its smart parking project that will help drivers in locating free parking spots. These cities are also experimenting on electric car and bike sharing models. Some examples of parking apps in Europe and US are ParkingPanda, SpotHero, Parker, and BestParking.

2. Waste Management

Waste management is a big issue for municipal bodies in urban areas. Large population generates large amount of waste. IOT enabled smart bins, garbage disposal methods, monitoring devices for wastes will help neighborhoods to maintain a clean and green surrounding. Many waste disposal companies are developing devices powered by renewable energy. Some localities are using solar powered devices to assess the required capacity of garbage bins. Identification of trash in the form of bio-degradable, e-waste, non-degradable will save our environment from further degradation. Both government and private firms are looking for smart solutions which have least impact on our eco-system. Big Belly, Smart Bin, Zero Cycle are some companies which are giving IOT enabled waste management.

3. Security Systems

Safety and security are prime concern of Governments world over. Without technology it is difficult to trace the negative elements in overly crowded towns and cities. Top grade surveillance programs are required to eliminate the suspects. IOT sound sensors, smart video surveillance, smart streetlights and latest drone technology can quickly help police and security personnel in detecting the place of terror, number of gunshots or strikes, suspects involved and number of people affected. IOT in security systems can also help in efficient monitoring of public places like markets, malls, airports, hotels, metro stations, banks and hospitals. They are must haves in residential and commercial buildings. The recent surge in the market of security and surveillance products around the globe depict their necessity. Both developing and developed world are vulnerable to terror attacks. IOT in this segment can help tremendously in saving people's lives and resources.

4. Smart Energy Consumption

Technology has made our lives easier but it has also impacted our environment negatively in last 100 years. Over utilization of natural resources in the form of nonrenewable energy like petrol, diesel, coal, wood has harmed our ecosystem. To safeguard the future of our coming generation's countries are investing in renewable form of energy like solar, wind and water. In lighting segment, LEDs are game changer. They reduce cost and excel on longevity factor. It is estimated that United States will convert all its streetlights into LEDS that will save $14million every year. In renewable energy segment, European countries have taken the lead. Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy have fared well in this segment. China, Australia and Japan are also harnessing solar, wind, hydroelectricity. The new form of energy consumption will be linked with IOT devices which will help individuals, civic bodies, industries to check energy metrics. This will help in saving water consumption, improve air quality, sewage disposal and effective power generation.

5. Healthcare Services

Modern age has brought in sedentary lifestyles. Even though advancement in medicine and technology has improved 'Life expectancy' of human beings, it has also created new kinds of diseases and health problems in urban population. IOT in health sector helps in remote monitoring, smart sensors and activity tracker devices. Smart cities need smart hospitals which can track patients remotely, provide emergency services quickly, offer preventive measures, analyze patient's data and utilize them in better research practices. For example, some hospitals have smart wristbands for newborns which alert the staff if baby is taken outside the nursing room. Also, medical staff receive alerts if any patient is critical or need emergency care. Apart from medical application, they are creating sustainable development through better utilization of food, energy, hospital waste management, inventory management etc. Future of smart cities will be incomplete without proper health and wellness centers for its residents.

6. Smart Water Supply

Monitoring of air quality, relative humidity, and temperature changes to transmit it to the city control center.

7. Smart Electricity Meters

Automated meter reading that transmits water, electricity, and gas consumption data to consumers including any concerned departments for remote monitoring and billing in real-time mode.

8. Smart lighting

Automated smart lighting controls - dimming street lights when required through using luminance sensors and motion detectors.

9. Smart Fire Detection

Sensors track conditions in recreational areas and lush areas that may catch fire. Similarly, sensors can detect fires in buildings, and the sensor sends an alarm to local emergency services.
An IoT system's remote control and diagnostic capabilities help firefighters know where to place staff and vehicles ahead of time.
When a smoke alarm goes off, a seat locator sends signals, or a water stream switch is activated, an IoT system sends alerts to fire crews.

10. Smart City Air Management

Another attribute of a smart city is its ability to analyze air pollution data and to make certain emission forecasts for the coming days with a certain degree of accuracy. The City Air Management Tool is a cloud-based software that was designed to collect and analyze air pollution data and to make emissions forecasts.

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Smart Cities Across the World

Many towns and cities are experiencing tremendous technological innovations in terms of mobility, security, sustainability and much more. Here are few of them:

#5. Oslo

Oslo uniquely sticks out in smart cities for its focus on developing a sustainable, environmentally friendly atmosphere. Although smart cities and sustainable places are a little different, Oslo can be counted as both. The city has 650,000 LED lights, all of which are connected to a monitoring hub. These smart lights will automatically change the amount of illumination required to meet current needs.
Oslo also enables sophisticated license plate detectors to build a data-based way to avoid traffic jams. The city has hopes to rehabilitate its transportation system in the coming years altogether.

#4. Boston

The city of Boston was one of the first places to embrace smart innovations. It has opened its Innovation District at its seaport to show the public its smart initiatives. The site has then helped over 200 tech startups.
It aimed to involve its citizens by introducing a collection of apps that contain parking information, where anyone can report service issues and even allow people to communicate with each other. Citizens can also track a school bus or even report graffiti anywhere in the city's many neighborhoods.
Since the area is well known for its traffic conditions, its campaign also highlighted how to ease mobility around the city. A digital kiosk was established where it could provide real-time details on buses and trains. It also gives information on car-shares, bike-shares, and other related services.

#3. Copenhagen

The Danish capital is heading towards smart growth, integrated with its radical environmental policies. Copenhagen Solutions Lab received an award in 2017 for a system that monitors traffic, air quality, waste management, energy use, and other items and compares operations in real-time.
It integrates parking networks, traffic signals, structures, smart metering, and charging systems for electric vehicles to help traffic in real-time. It also optimises energy usage per fuel costs, traffic flows, and weather conditions. The ability to evaluate, calculate, and measure both of these data is intended to increase service delivery output.

#2. Dubai

This city is known for its Smart Dubai 2021 program, which plans to digitalize all government services. This plan includes some 100 projects covering transport, communications, telecommunications, energy, financial services, and urban planning.
About 90 government facilities are now being digitalised and made available via the DubaiNow app. City officials estimate they will save 900 million UAE dirhams or $245 million. They also plan to remove paper transfers once the scheme is finished. According to the Road and Transit Authority, a tracking device for bus drivers using artificial intelligence has dramatically decreased traffic accidents due to fatigue.

#1. Singapore

Garnering the top spot for being the smartest city globally, Singapore is the world's second-most densely populated city. It has recorded around 8,000 people per square kilometre. Despite the ageing population, this city is facing, its government continues to look for ways to incorporate digital advancements to raise productivity.
Singapore's Smart Nation digitally collects information around the city that is essential in managing the city. Traffic volume data are collected and sent to appropriate agencies to come up with better services. Moreover, 95% of homes are provided with broadband access that provides essential information for personal or business reasons.
The development of Virtual Singapore leads to a dynamic 3D city model that acts as a collaborative data platform. Public and private firms are open to developing tools that can be tested further to elevate the city's smart technology initiatives. Public housing that resides 80% of the city's residents is continually tested for advanced innovations like water management systems and tracking systems for all the elderly.

Goal of Smart Cities with IoT?

The main goals of smart cities are to improve policy efficiency, reduce waste & inconvenience, improve social & economic quality, and maximize social inclusion while also improving the quality of life for citizens by using Smart technologies and data analysis.

Smart cities use IoT to deliver connected solutions for the public - making IoT the most important factor in this topic.
The IoT is a network of connected devices that communicate and exchange data, such as connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyze data.
These cities then use this data to improve infrastructure, public utilities, services, and more.
In addition, a security system is implemented to protect, monitor, and control the transmission of data from the smart city network to prevent unauthorized access for the IoT network of the city's data platform.
This is done to ensure for a truly smart city functions at its full potential.

Downfall of Internet of things

Like any other new thing IOT comes with certain disadvantages as well. Foremost is security and privacy. All these devices collect lots of personal data and unless it is not encrypted, it can be shared and misused by a known or unknown. These devices are still in a nascent stage and security experts feel that a lot has to be done in this domain.
Complexity is another issue to be tackled. IOT devices make use of multiple technologies based on different platform or architecture. Problem in one device can malfunction the whole system which might incur more cost and time.
Also while implementing them right assessment of infrastructure and capacity, management of different devices, avoiding interference and checking security lapses must be covered.
As it is still in the development process, new and innovative standards are applied by different organizations. It is essential to form a stable, wholesome and common ground for IOT to overcome the disadvantages, reap the positives and benefit the mankind. In the end, smart cities are ever growing phenomenon and without IOT devices it is impossible to see the future of our cities.

At Vyom Data Sciences, we can help you build and accomplish your IoT strategy or approach that suits your business requirements and your company's objectives. If you want to see how we can assist in your IoT dreams, schedule an appointment with one of our IoT experts today.

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