- The world is facing increasing urbanization, as major cities have become a magnet for investment and an engine for economic growth. At the same time, cities face continuing societal challenges with increasing populations, increasing pressure on urban infrastructure, the need to improve energy efficiency, increase fresh water supplies and improve quality of life and public health.
About half of the world’s population today lives in cities, and this percentage may rise to more than 65% by 2030. Although the world’s cities contribute about 60% of the global gross domestic product, they leave a significant environmental impact as they consume 70% of global energy, and more than 60% of the Earth’s resources, and causes 75% of global carbon emissions even though it occupies only 3% of the Earth’s land area.
Revolutionary digital technologies in the field of information and communications technology have the potential to solve major urban challenges and reduce the negative environmental impact of cities, as urban areas become “smart cities.”
What is a smart city?
A smart city is an urban area that uses information and communications technology to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, and improve the quality of government services and the well-being of citizens.
Hundreds or thousands of sensors are deployed in the smart city to collect electronic data from and about people and infrastructure, in order to improve services and quality of life. Residents and city workers are also provided with applications that allow them to access city services, and receive and issue reports on service interruptions and accidents. , crimes, paying taxes and fees, and the like.
The focus in smart cities is on energy efficiency and sustainability, and harnessing digital technologies to make better use of resources and reduce emissions. This means smarter urban transportation networks, improved water supply and waste disposal facilities, and more efficient ways to light and heat buildings. This also means running a more efficient city. Interactive and responsive, safer public spaces, and meeting the needs of elderly populations.
Smart city technology
Smart cities rely primarily on the Internet of Things (IoT), in addition to applications, user interfaces (UI) and communication networks.
The Internet of Things is a network of computers, smart devices, and sensors that can communicate with each other, collect and exchange massive amounts of data, send this data to a central cloud-based service, process this data, and share it with end users in a useful way.
Connecting these devices and using data analytics facilitates the convergence of the city’s physical and digital elements, thus improving the efficiency of the public and private sectors, achieving economic benefits and facilitating the lives of citizens.
Other smart city technologies include application software interfaces, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, big data, and machine-to-machine (M2M).
Smart city applications
Smart cities include an unlimited number of applications,
– Intelligent transportation:
A variety of “smart transportation” systems can be implemented in a smart city. For example, congested cities can be equipped with an intelligent traffic flow management system that connects the traffic control center with sensors and traffic signal controllers, to detect delays or the amount of traffic at intersections. Certain data, and obtaining data on traffic density, periods of maximum traffic peaks, periods of non-congestion, periods of stopping vehicles, their movement and speed, to take immediate action by opening and closing specific streets, and adjusting the timing of lights based on the volume of traffic and the extent of its flow. This data can also be used at any time and analyzed to benefit from it. When developing existing cities or when planning to build new cities.
In intelligent transportation systems, cities can also be provided with a network of smart parking meters equipped with sensors or other displays that communicate with a central server and an application at the user, to advise when a parking space is available and direct the driver to it, determine fees and automatically calculate them from the driver’s balance, and send alerts to the user and authorities. Law enforcement at the end of parking time.
Other examples of intelligent transportation systems include smart road systems, which are equipped with sensors to monitor vehicles that are considered paid roads and gates and automatically deduct fees from the user’s account, or impose automatic fines on those who violate speed limits or do not adhere to lanes.
– Rationalizing and raising energy efficiency:
Smart cities must address the issue of creating their own infrastructure using advanced technologies that use energy efficiently and have a minimal impact on the environment, as energy conservation and efficiency in buildings, infrastructure, and urban systems are among the most important foundations of smart cities.
Improving energy efficiency means using less energy to achieve the same result. For example, it is possible to use energy-efficient building materials, install low-consumption lighting systems, use effective air conditioning systems, and use renewable energy sources, especially with the increasing reliance on electric cars, and what you need. From building new charging stations…all of these solutions help reduce energy consumption, thus reducing the environmental impact of cities.
Sensors can be used to turn off smart street lights when there are no cars or pedestrians on the roads, use smart grid technology to improve operations, maintenance and planning, provide on-demand power and monitor faults and outages.
– trash mangment:
Traditional waste collection systems result in unnecessary picking and unloading operations, thus requiring more travel routes for collection trucks and more fuel to complete the collection process.
Empty public trash and recycling bins before they are full wastes resources, increases labor costs, and consumes more fuel. On the other hand, it leads to waiting a long time for garbage bins and recycling bins to fill, which is unhealthy and harmful to the environment.
Smart garbage bins and recycling bins are equipped with sensors that alert garbage collection companies when they need to be emptied, allowing these departments to plan more efficient schedules and routes, thus saving cities and communities time, money and energy.
An application that allows smart cities and communities to predict potentially dangerous environmental conditions. These sensors monitor environmental conditions, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, solar radiation, atmospheric pressure, and other factors.
With consistent, real-time data on environmental conditions, cities and communities can better inform their environmental policies, monitor air quality, predict weather events, and protect critical infrastructure.
Smart cities and communities can collect and analyze vast amounts of data to automate processes, improve service quality, and make better decisions. In other words, data collection in this way is what makes cities and communities “smart.”
This saves cost and time, increases productivity, public health and safety, and helps reduce emissions that cause climate change, which is beneficial to governments, residents, and visitors to smart cities.
But data collection in smart cities is also a source of privacy concerns when the data collection includes personally identifiable information.
Smart city technologies that collect data about residents, especially sensitive data – such as personal information that can be used for identity theft – are attractive targets for cybercriminals. Moreover, every Internet-connected device involved in collecting, transmitting, or receiving smart city data represents a potential security vulnerability, making cybersecurity an integral part of protecting residents’ data privacy.
Cities and communities need to balance concerns about cybersecurity risks, commercial use of data, and potential government surveillance, with other concerns such as public safety, sustainability, beneficial uses of data, and cost.