What Is A Smart City And What Is The Technology Behind It?

By Bernhard Mehl
June 02, 2020

Smart cities may seem like a distant futuristic idea, but they are very much a reality. With the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and innovative technological solutions, smart cities are coming into materialization. Not only this, but the smart city concept is quickly expanding too. 

Through the use of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) and cellular wireless applications, municipal governments can create cities that are more efficient and connected. 

Below we’ll take a more in-depth look into what is a smart city and what kind of technology goes into it.  

What Is A Smart City? 

Smart cities are the urban idea of the future. The main idea behind smart cities is connectivity through the latest technological advancements. Smart cities utilize sensors, actuators, and technology to create a fully connected network across the city. 

This means that different areas of infrastructure become connected through different types of electronic IoT sensors to capture and share their data. This could include traffic and transportation, water and power supply facilities, waste management, schools, hospitals, and any other areas of the community. 

An IoT smart city will also include data collected from citizens and devices to help manage these different areas of infrastructure and community. 

The basic idea behind this smart city definition is to allow the municipal government to interact directly between the community and the city infrastructure. This allows for a clearer picture of what happens in the city, and how things are evolving and working. Through doing this, a more efficient and convenient city and lifestyle become available. 

The way that smart cities manage to achieve this is through cloud-based IoT applications. These applications capture, analyze, and manage the relevant data in order to help municipalities. This allows all areas of community life within the city to be improved and streamlined in order to meet the lifestyles and needs of the residents. 

What Technology Goes Into Smart Cities?  

Smart cities are connected through an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) framework. This framework, or network, consists of different smart objects that share data using wireless technology. This occurs through a cloud network. 

Smart city technology can be found in all kinds of devices and everyday objects. What makes these things “smart” is that they can capture data, and communicate that to the rest of the network in order to provide an optimized experience. 

For example, traffic lights can be connected within a smart network. Through data received from sensors and cars, the traffic lights can time themselves to reduce traffic and respond to real-time scenarios on the road. 

Another typical example of smart technology is the smartphone. Of course, individual smartphones can hold and share data with all kinds of various areas of the community. However, simple smart technology can also be implemented in things such as garbage cans, cars, or door locks

Usually, a mobile app will record and transfer the data of a smart city. This can include helping the user to find a parking spot, report a pothole, or avoid traffic jams. The more information that goes into a smart city, the better equipped it will be to provide a seamless living experience. 

With a well-connected network between a city’s residents and infrastructure, a smart city can easily respond to any problems. These smart cities can help with economic, environmental, and technological issues. 

The more connected these cities are, and the more prevalent this technology is, the more opportunities they have to offer. Significant smart technology investments are on the rise as these cities expand. The technology behind smart cities is constantly growing, advancing, and increasing in value.

What Is The Purpose Of Smart Cities

The implementation of smart cities aims to make life easier, more efficient, and secure. The overall goal of a smart city is to improve the quality of life for both residents and visitors. This is achieved through maximizing efficiency in everyday tasks and sectors. In addition, smart cities place emphasis on the needs of the residents. 

As smart cities expand, their features and uses do too. A smart city could start off by optimizing waste removal efficiency. As these cities grow though, other areas of life could be included in the smart network. 

This could go so far as the quality of air, or the movement of people through the city. Smart cities rely on technology and innovation - making them the cities of the future. 

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Pros And Cons Of Smart Cities

Smart cities are an amazing idea in theory. However, they offer a list of both pros and cons. Let’s explore some of these different factors that these types of cities pose. 

Pros 

  • Cities perform better. Using smart technology, these cities can upgrade the performance of different sectors of urban life. This makes them more efficient and better operating places
  • Smart cities make more efficient use of energy
  • Reduction of carbon emissions
  • Crime levels can be cut down with more advanced security measures
  • Higher levels of citizen and government engagement
  • Transportation and movement around the city become more efficient
  • Public utilities work better
  • Smart cities create plenty of new opportunities in economic and technological developments

Cons 

  • Smart cities require high levels of advanced technology, financial resources, and skill-sets to match this. Many places lack these things
  • Smart city technology can be tricky to work across different boundaries and departments
  • Some residents may have concerns about the security and privacy of their data

Conclusion

Smart city solutions offer an ideal urban design of the future. Through the use of smart technology, these cities can provide a highly optimized experience and lifestyle. All aspects of community life can be streamlined through these technological networks. 

Smart cities are rapidly coming into fruition and expanding around the globe. These places can provide many advantages and improved lifestyle features for their residents. 

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.