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What Are Smart Cities?

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What Are Smart Cities

What are smart cities? Read our latest “What is” article to find out now, and to read up on some of the applications and technologies which smart cities use to drive efficiencies, optimise resources, and create more liveable urban areas.

What Are Smart Cities?

Public sector organisations today need to meet the demands of growing urban populations while working under budgetary constraints. This has led to the increasing adoption of technological solutions to make cities smarter and more connected. In line with this, the term ‘Smart City’ is commonly used to describe a city that employs data collection sensors and IoT technology to improve the efficiency of its operations and resource management.

Cellular networking, along with other wireless technologies, plays a critical role in smart city initiatives, delivering the flexible and scalable connectivity that IoT applications require.

Example Applications

In response to rising demand for resources, cities are capitalising on technological advancements to make systems more efficient and cost-effective. IoT-enabled sensors installed in objects, and combined with cloud-managed cellular networking, allow the remote management and monitoring of resources like water and energy. By making these systems more predictive, cities can make smarter, data-driven decisions to eliminate waste and optimise resources. This includes the ability to identify issues such as leaks and faults in near real-time and resolve them, minimising the impact on citizens and preventing costly delays.

Intelligent street lighting is another key initiative that is driving the evolution of smart cities, enabling greater energy conservation and reduced costs. Sensor technology enables the automatic self-adjustment of lights according to the situation and environment, and cities also have the ability to remotely control lighting levels. Through a combination of embedded sensors and video cameras, the infrastructure of connected street lights is also being leveraged for a range of other applications too – for example, collecting and transmitting data on traffic, crime, noise and air quality.

Smart traffic management and connected parking systems have the potential to greatly increase efficiency and improve a city’s liveability. Traffic signals connected to centrally managed systems can be used to intelligently regulate and guide traffic patterns in order to alleviate congestion and lower carbon emissions. By reducing the risk of accidents as well as giving priority to emergency services vehicles, smart traffic management is a key development in improving public safety. Such technology is also beneficial to citizens as real-time information such as parking availability and optimal traffic routes can be made readily available through digital signage and mobile devices.

IoT sensor technology, 4G LTE networking solutions and remote cloud management are already being leveraged as a key strategy to effectively manage city operations. The data yielded by such smart city technologies not only enables the greater efficiency of existing operations, but also gives cities greater decision-making capabilities for the development of future infrastructure.

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