What Differentiates the Smart City?
You’ve likely heard the term“smart city” before, but do you really know what constitutes one? Do you know what its values are, who benefits from smart cities and how current cities can transform to meet the “smart” criteria? You’ve come to the right place. Think of this piece as a “Smart Cities 101” of sorts, where we’ll discuss everything you need to know about smart cities and why they’re important. Here’s a look:
What is a Smart City?
A smart city is one that uses data and technology to its full advantage as a means of improving the quality of life for its residents. Many smart cities use a combination of sensors and IoT technology to manage resources and track assets. Collecting and analyzing this information leads to increased sustainability, economic development and public safety enablement, among other benefits. First responders can quickly view condensed video footage to react to emergencies faster. City officials can analyze data to understand details, such as how much water is used to irrigate the city parks, and then analyze how this could be managed more efficiently to conserve water. Municipalities can draw intelligence about traf ic patterns and trends, and then leverage this information to optimize light timing and public transportation to proactively prevent congestion.
Who Benefits Froma Smart City?
Simply put, everyone. Citizens benefit from faster emergency response times and a cleaner environment. Commuters benefit from real-time notifications about transportation schedules coming to and from the city (not to mention traffic patterns and areas of congestion). City officials benefit from being able to share information more rapidly with residents and local businesses. Law enforcement and public safety workers are able to more proactively detect and deter crime, thereby keeping residents safer. City planners can see which undeveloped areas of the city are right for new business based on pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Infrastructure can be better monitored to maintain utility flows. The list goes on and on.
You may have heard of the concept of a smart home, one equipped with cameras, video doorbells, learning thermostats and more. The aforementioned features are all designed to make life better, easier and more sustainable for you and your family. Think of smart cities in the same way, except on a much larger scale.
What are the Key Values of a Smart City?
There are really three main goals behind any smart city: of er better services, elevate the quality of life for residents and increase sustainability. All three of these working in sync don’t just make the city a better place to live, but they also help provide a foundation to attract new residents and industries, and spur economic growth.
Why are Smart Cities Important?
Smart cities matter because urban areas are so crucial to local economies. Studies indicate that about 750 cities located throughout the world are currently outpacing the respective economic growth of their parent nation as a whole. Studies also indicate that by the year 2025, about 600 cities will be responsible for more than 60 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP). In turn, people are increasingly flocking to the big city to live – but if the cities aren’t prepared to accommodate growth, the effect can be anything but positive. Becoming a smart city means better data-driven efficiency and decision making. And intelligent decision making and predictability means that cities can offer improved quality of life to current residents and proactively prepare for population growth and city expansion.
The transformation into a smart city isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes commitment from everyone, investment in the right technologies and systems, and patience in learning how to best use the data that is being captured by the aforementioned systems. But cities worldwide are demonstrating that investing now will pave the way for future optimization.