Written by Albert Gibosse

Cities that are more prominent in contributing to the smart city projects development and that are in the forefront with their initiatives, projects and ecosystem that make them better place to live include:

smart city

· HELSINKI

As Helsinki’s population is projected to rise from 626,000 to nearly two million by 2050, the Finnish government has started to support initiatives of startups regarding building a smart city. One of the government’s goals is to completely overhaul its public transport network and reduce private car use by 2025. One of the projects includes using a smartphone app that prompts you to input your location and destination and plans your journey, offering you a range of options with differing methods, journey times and prices. This service will merge private transport options, like Uber, or cycle companies with the city’s bus, tram, train, metro into one unified network. People in Helsinki will have a quick, easy, one-stop shop for all their transport needs. Easy purchase – one click on their phone.
Other projects include automated waste collection system to reduce garbage truck traffic by 80-90%; smart grids and real-time energy monitoring that reduce energy consumption by 15%; and parking spaces with electric car charging. Together, the government and private companies are work on food waste problems and implementing sensors in refrigerators at homes that will use apps to remind residents about expiration dates and suggests alternative usage for foods rather than thrown away.

Harnessing the innovative capabilities of the entire urban community by promoting cooperation between application developers, and the rest of the city’s ICT ecosystem is a key goal of Helsinki’s Smart City activities. To showcase its open-data innovation orientation, it organizes numerous hackathons regularly, and holds annual open app competitions. Helsinki’s schools are known for their forward-looking education systems, shifting away from traditional education to an inquiry-based learning approach.

· SINGAPORE

Singapore is deploying an undetermined number of sensors and cameras across the island city-state that will allow the government to monitor everything from the cleanliness of public spaces to the density of crowds and the precise movement of every locally registered vehicle. 5.4 million people squeezing onto 446 square miles of island makes the city one of the world’s most densely populated cities. As it has experienced rapid growth over the last few decades, demands placed on the city’s transport network have rocketed. Moreover, the city also invests a lot in road sensors, phased traffic lights, and smart parking. Improvement in transportation is not surprising, granted the system has a long history of using information technology to improve traffic.

Smart apps and the sensors provide residents with feedback on their behavior, helping them to use less water, electricity, and beyond, thereby, reducing household costs. Likewise, the government aggregates this insights from analytics and computer simulation to improve the planning, design and maintenance of public housing estates.

· BARCELONA

Barcelona hosts the annual Smart City Expo World Congress and invests a lot in advancing in this subject. It has installed sensors for monitoring air quality and noise, smart parking technology as well as smart streetlights, and has also expanded a network of free Wi-Fi in public spaces.

The city is a global leader in its extensive use of IoT and has more than 100 active smart city projects ranging from Smart LED streetlamps that save energy but also equipped with sensors that collect data from the environment, electric cars, and smart waste management. It also installed sensors that monitor rain and humidity to determine how much water is needed to irrigate parks; municipal smart bins monitor waste levels and are cleared only when they are full, optimizing waste collection operations; digital bus stops provide bus arrival times, free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports, and utilizes a smart parking system that guides vehicles to available parking spaces, reducing congestion and emissions; and also enables its citizens to use Bústia Ciutadana to make complaints, file reports of city problems such as a broken street light, or make suggestions. Data is sent to a central location, and officials respond to the the user promptly.

· COPENHAGEN

Being considered the greenest capital city in the world, Copenhagen is a centre for clean technology innovation, sends less than 2% of its waste to landfills and is committed to being carbon neutral by 2025 and. Half of the waste is recycled and most of the waste is used to generate heat for the city’s district heating network. Moreover, the city government planned and adequately balanced spaces given to cars, bikes, public transport and pedestrians. And, as half of the people who live in the city ride a bicycle to work, that culture required an infrastructure that plays a critical role that also required traffic lights to be timed for bicycle speeds, and impressive 240-mile bike network.

· LONDON

Londoners work on project NBBJ , which is about replacing trains on the 110-year-old Circle Line with a set of three travelators, just like those you can see in the airports – that would carry commuters to their chosen station. The speed would be low, around 20 km/hour, but still it will be faster than a conventional Tube train because there would be no need to stop at each station.

· SAN FRANCISCO

Being one of the first cities in North America to adopt smart city technology, San Francisco has a goal to achieve zero waste by 2020. Its current waste diversion rate stands at 80 percent. The municipal government, there, offers online tools to complement the policies that reduce waste, and increase access to recycling and composting. One project provides the latest and most convenient recycling, reuse, and disposal options for plastics, batteries, fluorescent lights, televisions, couches, and much more, and uses open source software and an open data model to provide localized and accurate results. These online tools help each person to contribute to the City’s goal of zero waste by 2020.
Additionally, the city is currently powered by renewable energy at 41 percent. Achieving this goal required the SF Energy Map, a tool that tracks the solar and wind installations across the city, that enables resident or business to see solar potential for their own roof.
Granted cars and trucks in San Francisco account for about 40 % of their carbon emissions, the government promotes smart commuting, electric transportation, and biofuels to help the city meet greenhouse gas reduction goals. The city also tracks the usage and functional status of its charging points, providing real-time status of the chargers and generating long-term reports. Technical tools like the ChargePoint network help the city establish EV charger demand and determine where chargers should be placed in the future.
The city also implemented smart parking options that allow drivers to find parking spaces easily.

· OSLO

Being among the top ten greenest cities of the world, Oslo is confronted by few of the issues of overcrowding, pollution, and high energy. The city government works on these issues and can be proud of its public transportation, as its underground, tram and bus line systems are rather efficient and modern.
Oslo is also known as the e-car capital of the world, with most electric cars per capita, thanks to different incentives. The city uses information technology to curb energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020, and rebuild its transportation grid by 2030 to become 95% climate neutral.
Oslo has installed sensors to help citizens with parking problem and has also established a network of smart street lighting, which has reduced energy consumption by nearly two-third. Its smart-city approach emphasizes sustainable energy. The government along with private companies are looking into banning private vehicles altogether.

· SEOUL

In Seoul, the Online electric vehicle technology(OLEV) was successfully developed and deployed, allowing electric public buses to be charged as they move across road surfaces. Electric cables under the road create magnetic fields which can be converted to electrical energy by OLEV devices installed under vehicles.

Seoul’s healthcare service provides telehealth check-ups and medical consultation through remote-controlled medical equipment and smart devices for the disabled and elderly citizens

Seoul’s futuristic city experiment, known as Songdo, was built on reclaimed land and is equipped with ubiquitous Wi-Fi, sensor networks, eco-buildings and IoT enhanced smart homes. Songdo’s residential areas are planned so that everyone in the city can walk to work. Songdo has been designed with sensors to monitor temperature, energy use and traffic flow. These sensors alert you when your bus is due and inform local authority of any problems. A lot of these innovations are designed with the environment in mind, charging stations for electric cars, for example, or a water-recycling system that prevents clean drinking water being used for office toilets.
There are no rubbish trucks on the streets of Seoul nor bins around the flats, instead, all household waste is sucked directly from individual kitchens through a vast underground network of tunnels, to waste processing centres, where it’s automatically sorted, deodorised and treated.

Thank you for reading this article!

Should you need assistance with your smart city project, please fill out the following form.