The Internet of Things (IoT) carries the potential to transform communities around the world into “smart cities,” creating a new era of urban living. The benefits include increased safety, reduced traffic, lower levels of pollution, more efficient use of energy, and a better overall quality of life for future city dwellers.
Although the idea of smart cities has existed for approximately ten years, the concept has come a long way since its beginnings, now poised to radically alter city life with the emergence of critical enablers like the Internet of Things. There’s no question that connecting sensors to everyday devices that collect and transmit data is a powerful business and lifestyle tool. In a recent study, research company Gartner reports 8.4 billion connected things in use globally in 2017. This emerging growth illustrates the incredible potential for advanced IT systems to take smart city development to a much higher level than the technology’s originators may have imagined a decade ago.
Smart cities of the future will allow IoT systems to revolutionize the way we live and conduct business, with sensors attached to virtually every vehicle, device, or piece of equipment that a city uses on a daily basis. The possibilities are almost endless, as IoT produces invaluable data for a multitude of business intelligence systems, such as emergency services, crime prevention, parking management, and much, much more. And according to Smart America, city governments will invest over $41 trillion over the next two decades to upgrade their infrastructure to benefit from the IoT. Here are some of the initiatives taking place in smartest cities today:
- Smart roads to optimize and adapt to changing traffic patterns
- Smart buildings to optimize energy, lighting, resources
- Smart lighting with adaptive street lights
- Smart waste management to monitor and optimize collection
- Smart grids to manage energy consumption with monitoring and allocationg for dynamic conditions
As IoT technologies continue to be advanced, it becomes necessary to update many existing city infrastructures such as traffic management and parking, both of which may ultimately be controlled by computers. For example, many experts believe that future city dwellers will be dropped off at their destination by a self-driving car, which will subsequently take itself to the closest available parking space and notify the vehicle owner that it has been safely parked. While this is certainly a very exciting prospect, massive changes will be needed to make this possible, including alterations to roads, and overall connectivity.
This is just one example of the incredible possibilities for smart cities of the future — powered by IoT and capable of making everyone’s lives much better on a daily basis.
I’m ready! Are you?
Written by Igor Ilunin, head of IoT at DataArt.