5 Ways Smart City Technology Benefits Cities and Residents
Half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and that figure is expected to increase in coming years. That means cities need to be prepared for a population boom, and they must be ready to provide a high quality of life for residents. Innovators and entrepreneurs are working on smart city technology to make cities healthier and more liveable. Their goal is to boost smart city benefits both for the city and the people who live there.
Why would you move to a smart city? These urban areas are far more than just a place to live and work. They have specialized technology-driven features that solve for the biggest problems city dwellers face today. Here’s what you need to know.
What Makes a City Smart?
Most people think of a city as just that – a city. It’s a mass of streets and buildings, along with parks, people, and various forms of transit. But what makes a smart city smart? It all comes down to technology. A smart city makes use of technology and data collected from other cities, as well as its own sensors and cameras, to make the entire city a more efficient, pleasant place to live and work. These are just a few of the smart city benefits you’ll enjoy by living there.
Smart cities accomplish their goals using a variety of tools and platforms, beginning with the internet of things (IoT). IoT is used to connect tech sensors throughout the city. Then, data is collected and analyzed. Sensors may be thermal, proximity, electronic, or infrared sensors. They can monitor everything from traffic and lights to energy use and pedestrian patterns.
Geospatial technology is frequently used to provide mapping of the city. Through WiFi, it links smartphones, wearables, and other types of sensors to determine where and how people are moving.
Bluetooth technology is also useful in pinpointing the location of people and objects via smartwatches or smartphones. Add GPS into the mix to check positions, along with satellite-based navigation. Finally, ultra-wideband scans radar and communicates with objects. Together, these tools create a perfect emergency response system. If someone is injured or in trouble, geospatial tech can send help immediately. It can also track disease outbreaks and other issues that impact large groups of people.
Artificial intelligence has a big part to play in smart cities. It takes the information provided by cameras and sensors and turns that data into valuable insights. From there, smart cities can adjust everything from traffic light duration to the timing of streetlights.
Another technology that is used to create smart cities is augmented reality (AR). AR shows the actual environment with digital information placed over it. This allows people to reach emergency services easily and to receive instructions on what to do in the event of a storm or other type of disaster.
AR can provide information like tips on where to park and how to find transportation. All of these technologies combine to create a smart city – one that actually interacts with visitors and residents to create a safer, more efficient community. It’s been shown that smart cities boost key quality of life factors by up to 30%.
Top Five Smart City Benefits
These are the top five smart city benefits that attract new residents:
Improved Traffic Management
No one likes traffic, but when you live in a city, it’s part of life. However, with smart city technology, many of the biggest traffic problems can be resolved. Sensors determine when the highest flow of traffic is and which direction it’s going in. It can easily adjust how many lanes are in use in either direction, adjust the traffic lights to improve traffic flow and provide individual tips for faster routes.
Drivers aren’t the only ones who benefit from improved traffic management. It is helpful for public transit, as well. Transit users can review their options and choose the fastest method for reaching their destinations.
Higher Levels of Security
One of the most important smart city benefits is better security. Thanks to the additional monitoring and AI involvement, it’s more difficult for criminals to get a foothold. Residents enjoy faster response time from emergency services because cameras and WiFi ensure incidents are reported more quickly. In addition, cameras and license plate tracking make it easier for law enforcement officers to locate and/or follow a vehicle as it leaves the area after a crime, meaning the police can intercept it.
A smart city can add security options using high-tech smart city solutions to enhance tools like alarms, remote locking and unlocking of doors, and road closures. When combined with facial recognition, it is easy to see why criminals look for an alternative location to commit crimes.
Smart cities benefits include fire and smoke alarms built into the entire city, along with cameras to make sure any smoke or fire is spotted and reported rapidly. This helps prevent small fires from becoming major fires, and it reduces the likelihood that fire will spread.
The news often shows buildings that have collapsed or been deemed uninhabitable. Bridges, roads, and other infrastructure can become unstable and dangerous as they age, but the issues are often overlooked until it’s too late.
Smart cities don’t have the same high number of infrastructure issues. Technology is used to monitor structures throughout the city and alert when something must be inspected, or maintenance is required. Such features reduce infrastructure maintenance and repair expenses, and they make the city a safer place for residents.
Everyone who lives in a smart city can be a part of improving it. These cities are designed to prioritize residents’ needs and preferences, so they offer an app or other method of communicating directly with the city government.
Users may be able to report disturbances or team up with others in the city to request services or create a group for a specific purpose. These smart city benefits allow for stronger, more livable communities.
Better Health for Everyone with Smart City Benefits
Smart city benefits include better health for residents. For example, stress is drastically reduced when people have better communication with their government, more efficient transportation options, and easier access to health services.
It is worth noting that the air quality in most smart cities is much better than non-smart city peers since there is a concentrated effort to reduce pollution. Cities use up to 80% of the world’s electricity. Any reduction means less pollution, which keeps everyone healthier.