Smart cities

Smart Cities – Urbanization through IOT


Kavitha Gopalan

Internet of things adoption is expanding at phenomenal phase. The concept of IOT is to embed sensors and transceivers into different devices which can then transmits data to each other and to cloud through Internet, building analytics to comprehend this data and use this understanding to find solution for everyday issues. New domains for IOT are being explored and one such is to use IOT in urbanization of cities. In the context has evolved the term Smart Cities. There are already cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, New York  which has implemented several aspects of Smart Cities and nations like Singapore and India are moving in that direction. It is expected by 2025 there will be 26 global smart cities. So what is a smart city? In simple terms the concept of smart city is to use information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet as a pivot to build city services to improve efficiency, reduce waste, save power and thereby improving quality of livelihood of the citizens. This is achieved by creating a giant network of interconnected sensor devices which is located at various location from which data is collected and analyzed and intelligent actions are driven. For example sensors embedded in the vehicles and infrastructure could help to collect the real time status of vehicles conditions, traffic, weather in the city and if a resident wants to go to a specific destination they could key in the location and the technology could instantly process the real time data and predict which is the fastest and best route.

There are several services that are associated with building a smart city – smart transportation, smart energy and water management, smart waste management, smart infrastructure, smart health care. IOT can play pivotal role and the foundation for the smart cities goal. This is a brief look at how IOT plays a role in these services.

Smart Transportation

Connected vehicles with sensors and those in the infrastructure can transmit real time information, like vehicle condition, weather status, congestion or collision, this data can be analyzed by software and can be available through apps service to its citizen. If for example there is an accident or traffic jam drivers can be warned to take alternate routes. If a vehicle is running out of gas it can provide the suggestion on nearest gas station or if there is a failure in the engine the data can be transferred to the service center and they can send a service personal immediately. The other service in this category is  Smart parking , parking spaces in the city are connected and real time data monitored through app, when a driver keys in his destination he gets real time data on the parking space availability and he can make the right choice.

Energy & Water Management

IOT can be used for energy management in buildings and in the city infrastructure. Power saving can be achieved through smart lighting system in buildings and on streets. For example sensors can detect ambient light and turn on/off the lights. It can also detect the presence of people in building and streets and turn of light when not needed. Water management could include detection leakage of pipes and send notification for action. Sensors can also help in detection of quality of water.

Waste Management

Smart trash cans are available now which can detect the level of garbage and send trigger through WiFi or Bluetooth to collection centers which can then initiate the collection drive which reduce the cost of waste management and helps in recycling.

Smart Environment

IOT can be used to monitor the quality of Air through sensors by detecting the presence of CO2 and pre-empt actions. For example the health application in the wearable or a fitness device can get the data of the air quality and provide suggestion to a jogger. Another application is using sensors for irrigation purpose where embedded sensors collects the real time data on level of water required for the irrigating the farms. This is also used to analyze climatic condition to prevent reduce the impact of the natural calamities.

Smart Health Care

Several advancement has been made in connected healthcare. Remote monitoring of patient through an attached sensor, connected medicine bottles which sends notification to replenish the stock, sending patient health status to medical staff have will improve patient care.

Urbanization of cities through IoT has great potential to improve the quality of life of its citizen. Addressing the current challenges of IoT like Security, privacy of data, Interoperability will propel this forward at a faster pace.

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