Applications are connecting the various devices, systems, and architecture to change the way we live or work in cities. This is bringing about not only a new way of living, but also a new way of governing.
Without IoT (Internet of Things) and IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things), smart cities wouldn’t be possible. It is the remote management and data transmission of interconnected devices that make a smart city “smart”. They allow process to be automated for things that weren’t possible before. However, they also provide a data and analysis level that is unachievable without IoT.
IoT and Smart Cities
An IoT smart city utilizes IoT devices in order to run things in more efficient ways. The data that is provided by these devices can allow those in charge to spot potential issues, automate processes, reroute resources, and optimize efficiency. IoT is becoming a key part of many city systems, from traffic management to waste disposal and recycling. New designs and ideas for IoT and smart cities are constantly being released and implemented.
Smart City IoT Architecture and Infrastructure
IOT smart cities need architecture and systems that independently and interconnectedly adapt. The devices should work to improve efficiency, safety, and economy.
1. Smart Buildings – These are buildings that utilize IoT devices to manage the buildings. In general, this is mostly applied to offices, hotels, malls, and apartments. However, it can be applied to any size building.
The systems manage the daily running of the building, and help to optimize it to be as efficient as possible. Things like utility services (electric, gas, water, waste), lighting systems, air conditioning, elevators and more can be optimized.
In most cases this is to reduce costs, however it can also be used to increase convenience, such as elevators learning the daily routines of residents and being ‘nearby’ when needed. This may mean that elevators return to middle floors after dropping people at the ground floor, to be there faster for the next call.
2. Smart Transport – AI has already helped to deliver self driving vehicles to the roads of some countries. Buses, taxis, trucks, trains and cars will soon start to be driven by an AI and sensors. However, the smart implementation doesn’t stop at that. These vehicles can integrate with smart roads that share live traffic information and could even charge the vehicles passing overhead.
Traffic lights, cameras, school zone IoTs and more can all share information directly to the vehicles and managing software, allowing traffic movement to be optimized and safety increased across the city.
Some cities (like London) are looking to interconnect parking with car IoT, to make sure you don’t arrive to find a full parking lot (parking spots could be reserved in advance, or when the vehicle is a certain time away). Even bicycles and bicycle loaning systems can be interconnected with IoT, to provide a green alternative transportation that is as convenient and safe as possible.
3. Smart Traffic Management – One of the biggest problems that cities face is traffic management, especially during rush hour times. By including AI and IoT in city infrastructure, such as traffic lights, cameras, road sensors, lighting and barriers … traffic can be managed in far more detail than was previously possible.
This allows for systems to reroute traffic at peak times, even reversing the flow of roads or changing traffic light patterns to aid in keeping things moving. This kind of detailed management would be almost impossible to manage with humans, but can be a relatively simple process for AI as it is mostly logical management of a large amount of data.
4. Smart Security – Cameras linked to AI systems can allow the police force to focus on what actually needs attention. AIs can monitor the camera feeds, alerting police or security to activities that appear suspicious, aggressive, dangerous, or criminal. This saves a lot of wasted manpower that would otherwise be spent on monitoring the cameras. In turn, this can lead to more available officers, faster responses to crimes, and a focus on helping the people that need help.
5. Smart Energy – Areas such as lighting and solar energy can be intelligently managed on a per street or even per light level. When scaled to the energy needs of a city, these kinds of tweaks to the system can result in substantial savings. Smart homes also play a factor in this, where energy supplies are linked to smart meters and apps, allowing for lower energy usage and remote management.
6. Smart Sensors – IoT sensors are relatively cheap, and so can be used to monitor a whole range of things, even people via wearable technology. Although the above areas are the key things people notice about smart cities, sensors around the city can also report seismic activity, structural stability (bridges, buildings, sky train platforms etc.), foot-flow patterns, and subsiding areas.
Cities are about to get Smarter!
All of these smart city IoT architecture and infrastructure solutions can add up to create a different style of city. Even the habits of the population can be tracked, allowing for those in charge to make things more convenient and efficient across the board.
With the arrival of 5G, the possibilities for future smart cities and IoT are only limited by imagination. With 5G, data can be transmitted from anywhere and at incredible ‘almost instant’ speeds. This is part of what is allowing for self driving cars to become a reality, as things can be managed remotely with almost no delay.
The interconnectivity and “smart data” is also allowing for cities to become greener. New environmentally friendly technology and better resource management approaches combine to make smart cities far less detrimental to the environment. By utilizing the resources we have in more efficient ways, smart cities are helping to preserve the planet.
Smart city IoT is not just a good idea…it’s already happening all around us, and has tremendous potential to change how our daily lives function.