What Is a Smart City?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is turning ordinary cities into smart cities. In a smart city, sensors, data and connectivity combine to create digital technologies and communication systems, improving operations across a city.
Today’s city planners are working to incorporate big data applications, 5G networks, sophisticated security systems and more to transform citizens’ lives and work. These complex, ever-evolving systems promise a new generation of efficient, safe and environmentally friendly urban spaces.
Solving the Biggest Challenges for Smart City Technology
Cities face three major challenges in their quest to become smart cities: managing vast amounts of data, adopting IoT across every city function and securing essential infrastructure against a growing number of threats.
Big data has incredible applications in smart cities ― if it can be gathered and understood
The opportunity to use big data to inform better, more efficient operations in smart cities is enormous, but only if that data can be effectively collected and analyzed to drive those improvements. Efficient orchestration is critical to transferring and processing vast amounts of data from a wide and growing array of devices.
Massive IoT is the future, and cities need to prepare for it today
As the adoption of the smart city concept grows, the use of massive volumes of IoT devices and sensors to monitor and control every aspect of city operations and functionality will expand. Massive IoT deployments include anywhere from hundreds to millions of IoT devices, with the primary goal of transmitting and consuming small amounts of data from many sources. The challenge will be building, deploying, operating and maintaining the devices with physical, software and service components that offer scalability, security, low power and low cost to handle the expansion of coverage and functionality scope of the deployment. In preparation for full 5G IoT over NR, equipping 5G NSA networks with dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) will future-proof current LTE-based massive IoT standards in deployment now.
Cities must plan now and be prepared to integrate sensors and connected IoT devices into their operations continually. This continual integration is essential to ensure that functionality and communications remain uninterrupted as smart cities evolve. Robust cellular connectivity plans create the foundation for this evolution.
Smart city infrastructure requires mission-critical security at scale
As cities become more dependent on digital capabilities, they also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. A sophisticated attack on a power grid could cause significant and potentially irreparable harm to a city and its inhabitants. Ethical questions around the use of personal information, such as facial recognition data, also surface in a smart city environment. Accountability and user tracking also become issues as user volume increases and more people have access to sensitive data. Building sophisticated security into the entire data journey from the very edge over mobile networks across the vast wired internet infrastructure and the cloud is crucial in keeping smart cities secure.
Smart Cities in Action: London
In 2018, the mayor of London launched the Smarter London Together roadmap to begin the city’s smart city journey. The strategy consists of new developments in infrastructure and urban regeneration projects in transport, energy and healthcare. It includes a significant IoT upgrade for the London Underground, a smart parking program that provides drivers with real-time information on unoccupied parking spaces, a driverless car shuttle service pilot program, a contactless public transport ticketing system, low- and zero-emission zones in the city, smart water metering, and more.
Smart City IoT Applications and Use Cases
Smart Waste Management
Save time and money while reducing your environmental impact with smart waste and water management. Data-orchestrated IoT-enabled solutions help organizations gather and monitor critical infrastructure data to prevent system failures and use predictive analytics to optimize resource use.
Smart Street Lighting
Make city streets safer while reducing power and maintenance costs with connected street lighting. Smart lighting systems help municipalities conserve energy and improve safety through usage monitoring, adaptive lighting settings and real-time data analytics.
Make getting around in the city easy and environmentally responsible. From ride-sharing to last-mile solutions such as smart bikes and scooters to communication systems that let passengers know when and where they can catch a ride, IoT enables smart city public transportation solutions that are easier and more convenient.
Traffic Management and Congestion Control
Improve safety and reduce traffic congestion with connected vehicles and smart parking solutions. Sensors collect real-time data that can be shared with both drivers and local authorities, triggering alerts when there are traffic issues and providing useful information regarding parking availability and the best routes to take at any given time.
Noise and Air Pollution Reduction
Reduce pollution and make cities more environmentally sustainable. As the world becomes more populated and urban centers expand, sensors and connectivity enable smart city applications to reduce noise and air pollution and maintain green spaces for city inhabitants.
Building Smarter Cities
Smart cities start with smarter infrastructure, supported by dependable connectivity that is easy to manage. Telit provides the key components and services that make possible smart city IoT solutions spanning the depth and breadth of city operations and functionality and offer real-time visibility and accurate data. We deliver the hardware required to connect every kind of sensor, the data plans for connectivity and the services needed to manage both the devices and the SIM cards — all centralized, managed and viewable through a single pane of glass.
Smart city solution architects, designers, integrators and service providers can innovate delivering systems with these capabilities only if they leverage leading-edge cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules and easy-to-manage cellular connectivity plans, data orchestration and device management subscriptions. This innovation will allow organizations to improve efficiency and ensure security while creating smarter, greener, more livable cities worldwide.