As with many industries, certain terms get used so often and become mainstream that we forget this industry jargon can be confusing for the average person. “Smart city” is one of these terms. Below, you can find some simple explanations for a complicated concept.
There are many ways of defining a smart city. Simply put, it’s a city which uses technology and data to shape its urban development.
According to the United Nations, by 2050, 66 percent of the world is expected to reside in a city. Therefore, the majority of us should take an interest in improving our cities.
The IDC forecasts smart city spending to reach $158 billion by 2022. The top-investing cities include Singapore, Tokyo and New York City.
A smart city should alleviate problems relating to the likes of traffic, transportation, security, connectivity and waste management. By improving the city’s ecosystem through the use of data and the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, citizens benefit from improved efficiency, which results in improved health, environment and safety. It also means more free time.
The idea of smart cities came about with several conceptual projects, but it has now become a popular topic of discussion and investment. Smart cities aren’t just pipedreams. You can already reap the benefits of some of these projects. Here are some examples:
If you are interested in learning more about smart city projects, you can find a great list here.
Anyone who benefits from improving the city — this includes governments (city, state and federal), as well as private and public companies. Like the Moovit example above, many public transit agencies are using data from private companies to implement smart solutions into their cities.
Smart cities rely on the connectivity across multiple layers of the city’s infrastructure and ecosystem. This means there will be a lot more collaboration across the public and private sector required to ensure more efficient solutions are found to improve the lives of the city-dwellers.
The rapid urbanization of cities means investment in the future. No longer can we rely on decisions that we think are right, we need to use the data gathered by specialists to ensure the decisions that are made in a city are based on facts and known patterns.
Eventually, I hope we will find ourselves with
a) Improved health, due to improvements in air quality and waste management as well as making cities more pedestrian friendly and encouraging people to move more.
b) Less stress, as there will be less traffic and problems finding parking spots.
c) Less frustration as we will be more efficient in many ways through things like universal wi-fi and better connectivity (even in San Francisco, a tech hub of the world, I find my wi-fi sub par at times).
d) A better environment for all. With these improvements and investments, hopefully we can right some of the wrongs we have done to the earth and leave something positive for future generations.
e) More spare time, given we will have shorter commutes.
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