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What Makes a City Smart?

A lot of things keep getting smart on a daily basis with the addition of decision logic and sensors, these include things that were previously dumb. We can go back to the days when computers filled a whole garage and had little intelligence, the days of the dumb phones, the pre-internet era… this shows us how far we have come and the progress we have made in so little time.

We have moved from phones that can only make calls and sent text messages to the very sophisticated devices we have today that can even unlock our houses remotely. In most cities like Vienna and seoul, street lights, traffic lights and even subways are becoming smart too.

The obvious question is, when do we call a city SMART?

It is important to state, however unfortunate that the term smart is attached to the city alone and not the inhabitants. A study of the smartest cities in the world will most likely be no different from a walk around the conventional cities, this study will nonetheless reveal some common traits shared by these smart cities.

A city is basically considered smart when it differentiates from other cities In terms of it’s Environment, Urban planning, Technology and overall management. Smart cities are supposed to provide better quality of life, safer, cleaner and of course be more efficient than their dumb counterparts. This sophistication is achieved via the application of new and high end technologies via steady research and development and implementation of new models for better management and organisation because there is no single template for creating a smart city, the most important step towards a smart city initiative is a local approach to solving local challenges which is why the need for research and development need not be over-emphasised. One key example is Japan’s integration of an RFID chip on their monthly train passes by the commuter rail companies with an electronic wallet of some sort to all consumers, this means that one consumer can use a train managed by a different company for a ride in a trained owned and managed by another company. An observer might argue that the technology isn’t so smart but it has made life easier for the citizens which is one of the many things that smart cites hope to achieve.

Some of the features of today’s smart cities include:

.Smart cities are always seeking ways to employ alternative energy sources like wind and solar, smart cities are also more inclined to use sensors in an attempt to employ smart grid technology and manage the distribution of water and reduce waste. .Smart traffic lights, Cars/Bike sharing, sensor-based parking availability detection, and real-time communication about public transportation are some of the hallmarks of a smart city.

.A more pronounced effort towards more responsiveness to the needs of it’s human resources whether through cleaner streets, smart street lights, digital signage, social media involvement, and many other initiatives, are ways smart cities are putting more effort into involving citizens into the city's governance.

.Smart cities consider environmental impact when erecting buildings during it’s construction and operation as well. Older ones are renovated and equipped with more efficient appliances and sensors to help control temperature and lighting.

These are only a few of the many ways that most cities around the world are making and remaking themselves as smart cities. In cities like Tokyo and Santiago - smart cities are being developed based on these principles and more



Tags: Smart City   IoT  

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