The Next Wave of Smart Cities

Modern urban dwellers face a variety of challenges. From traffic congestion and growing concerns over pollution to a wide range of overburdened resources, such as hospitals and utilities, the next wave of smart cities carries the potential to alleviate many of the problems in our day-to-day lives.

According to the United Nations, approximately 55% of the world’s population lives in cities, with projections reaching 66% by 2050. When combined with the rise in overall population, this urbanization is expected to add 2.5 billion people to cities over the next 30 or so years. Since our urban areas are already overcrowded and suffering from overextended resources, we need to take action in the form of developing and implementing the next wave of smart cities.

Fortunately, as the capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analysis expand, a more sustainable and efficient urban reality is within reach. We all know that our planet’s resources are limited, resulting in the need for a reduction in energy waste to meet the challenges that arise with an ever-growing global population. Smart cities hold the promise of using connected objects to monitor and measure all aspects of utility consumption. From analyzing urban water systems via sensors to uncover any leaks or blockages that affect pressure and flow, to measuring and evaluating energy usage throughout cities to reduce waste, a new level of efficiency can be achieved by effectively implementing IoT solutions in conjunction with advanced big data analysis.

Anyone who lives in a city knows that traffic can be a nightmare. As our urban populations expand, a drive that once took 30 minutes may now be a 45 minute or even an hour commute. Innovative transportation in the cities of the future will capitalize on IoT sensors and increased connectivity to improve traffic flow by measuring driving data and relaying that information to vehicles quicker and more accurately. And autonomous cars are expected to reduce road congestion even further while also operating on less gas, due to more efficient driving, which will reduce the toll on our environment while saving commuters money at the same time.

These changes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the multitude of advantages that we can look forward to experiencing in the next wave of smart cities. As IoT further proliferates along with continued advancements in big data analysis, urban landscapes will become more enjoyable and safer for us all.

Written by Igor Ilunin, head of IoT at DataArt.

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