Written by Albert Gibosse
The Internet of Things expansion has created the right recipes for Smart cities to develop and grow quickly.
It is projected that the smart city industry will be a market of over $600 billion by 2020, with 600 cities worldwide that are already leading the trend. These cities will generate 60% of the world’s GDP by 2025, and, by 2050, about 86 percent of people in developed countries and 64 percent of people in developing countries will be living in cities, which makes it crucial to utilize resources more efficiently and develop ways to enable populations to live smarter.
Smart cities have started with and maintain a very strong positive image around the world, including cities located in the third world countries that have existing challenges and lack of support. Although some City dwellers lack the adequate resources to fully embrace the concept, they are willing to contribute to do something good for the environment.
Throughout the world, developers, strategic thinkers, big data specialists, designers and innovators are working with cities to make city living better, whether it’s improving the timing of traffic lights or creating a useful app, which becomes more powerful as smartphone penetration continues to increase. As we speak, IoT devices are already making public transportation more efficient, sustainable, and effective at meeting the mobility needs of their residents. IoT will enable governments to save money and be more efficient by utilizing smart devices.
Many companies have already developed platform infrastructures to assist universities and civic planning authorities toward developing data-driven systems that will further enable efficient government, transport, waste management, law enforcement, and energy use to improve citizens’ lives.
As public safety and public services are key elements of a smart city, here are some key smart city projects that should be implemented by every city aspiring to become smart:
· WASTE MANAGEMENT
Smart waste and recycling systems have been implemented in main cities of the US and in more than 50 countries around the globe. These project include solar-powered compacting waste bins that allows for up to five times the amount of waste as in a traditional bin, and alert the appropriate city department when it needs to be emptied. Along with making the streets more aesthetically appealing, these bins also present great cost-saving, as the number of trash bins in a city will be reduced by 70-80%.
Another aspect includes analyzing garbage and recycling data to determine recycling rates for each neighborhood in a city to further enable insights for customized Neighborhood Waste Reports that can be sent to every household in the service area that encourages recycling.
Granted gunfire is, indisputably, one of the most dangerous aspects of urban life, sound sensors, whether standalone, from a private supplier, or added to a smart streetlight, can detect gunshots and automatically report it to the respective city authorities without citizen involvement. The sensors logs in the number of shots fired ans well as the number of shooters, which help police officers responding to the call.
· DIGITAL KIOSKS
Although our smart phones already act as our personal assistants, there are times when our phone battery run low or we don’t want to spend too much time using the internet to research or may be faced with other constraints, digital kiosks that can give information about the city, restaurants, retail stores, events in the immediate area, provide mapping for visitors, and can even sync with a mobile phone to give additional data as needed, and beyond, make a difference.
Digital kiosks that display public transport information and provide multi-language and multi-modal transport options to get users to their chosen destinations, really save time and make it easy for travellers to find information without actually reading many articles and visiting many sites.
· SMART STREETLIGHTS
Smart street lights, built with LED bulbs, reduce crime, as the lights automatically brighten when there are multiple people in the area, and dim when no one is around. These Street lights increase ROI and savings as LED lights also increase monthly savings on power consumption. Case in point: the city of Los Angeles saves nearly $9 million annually on utility costs by converting nearly 80% of its 215,000 old sodium-vapor streetlights to LED versions.
Other benefits of LED streetlights include new platform creation to developing future LED-lighting solutions aimed at creating energy efficient and intelligent indoor and outdoor lighting solutions, thereby, creating jobs.
· PARKING SENSORS
Parking sensors gather data and provide insights on available parking spots, help save gas and money, helps ease traffic flow, reduce emission, simplify our lives and make city living more attractive.
According to research, the average Parisian(Paris resident) spends four years of their life looking for a parking spot. Widespread use of parking sensors in Paris has dramatically reduced this problem.
· OPEN – DATA INITIATIVES
Open-data initiatives help produce useful and resource-saving apps to improve cities and keep citizens informed on things like air quality, restaurant sanitation scores, building inspection scores and make impending legislation readily available to all citizens.
· AIR – QUALITY SENSOR
As living in a city means having a lot of stress and rarely breath fresh air, internal sensors to measure your air quality, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light and UV can be embedded in your smart phone and wearable devices. Tracking these environmental variables provide actionable recommendations that help you with staying healthy, while also providing valuable insights on your environment.
- CLIMATE MONITORING
EverImpact is a climate monitoring app for cities that measures and monetizes Cities’ CO2 emission by combining Satellites and Ground Sensors’ data. Cities get a real-time map of their emissions at street and building level. It really helps to control the environmental situation in the cities.
· SOCIAL IMPACT
App that helps the blind and visually impaired people navigate through the city by describing the environment, announcing points of interest and street intersections to users, and telling them where to go.
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