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The Path towards Building Smart Cities and the Role of IoT

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‘Smart’ is a term used with abundance in today’s digital era. Our connected devices have made everything smart from manufacturing, web development, analytics, education, and more. All these domains have had the intrusion of smart technologies, and it only sets things to get bigger. Worldwide, governments are now focusing on building smart cities that will thrive on data and information to elevate the way of life, help improve the ecology, make use of green equipment, and enhance economic growth. 

What is Smart Cities, and why are they Necessary?

Smart cities are the next big step that, as a connected society, we are taking to upscale our lifestyles and overall way of living. Internet of Things (IoT plays a crucial role in information sharing on a large scale for building and sustaining these smart cities. As per a report by Cisco, cities that run on information can improve their energy efficiency by 30% within 20 years.

These smart cities will be nothing less than a vast, advanced factory where different units interact with each other and respond continuously to each other’s needs for an overall positive effect. There is an inherent need for smart and interactive devices to create and sustain a large, connected, and flexible ecosystem. IoT can fulfill this need by serving as a panacea for unlimited data and information. 

Ways in which IoT is Integral towards Building a Smart City:

Transformational Traffic Control

Automobile manufacturers are imbibing smart devices in their vehicles for both safety and user experience purposes. Now imagine a city full of such smart vehicles that can interact with not only each other but with the traffic monitoring systems like GPS and CCTV cameras too. This exchange of information on a real-time basis will help authorities to manage traffic, avoid roadblocks, mitigate accidents, and save commuters’ time and fuel. IoT helps in establishing this connection amongst vehicles and other smart devices, collecting the data, analyzing it, and distributing it to the responsible authorities. This helps them to make an informed decision regarding traffic control. 

We can use a subset of this application for smart parking. When IoT empowered connected vehicles and digitized sensors allocated at parking spaces, commuters will have information about parking space at their fingertips! This will reduce commuters’ parking woes and help in saving their time.

Manufacturing and Managing Smart Infrastructure

It is a well-established fact that a connected ecosystem operates at a faster pace, with more accuracy, and is proactive rather than being reactive. Developing physical infrastructures for a smart city can be done with more agility and in an error-free manner with implementing IoT. Digital networks can share information across various departments, advanced analytics can predict and perform requirement gathering, and technologies like artificial intelligence can help in automating different manual tasks. 

Managing smart infrastructure with the help of IoT devices can also come with its benefits. Various digitized sensors can alert concerned authorities regarding plausible problems or glitches. For example, a network sensor near the water supply source of the city can inform the relevant department of maintenance work to be done well in advance in time.

Sensor-equipped Smart Lighting

Many cities across the globe have implemented IoT for smart lighting in their localities. Usually, conventional lighting is a significant source of energy consumption in any city. It also requires manual maintenance and changing, and both these are done only reactively. But smart lighting has sensors imbibed in them, which sends timely alerts for maintenance and replacements. These sensors also help in reducing energy consumption, as we program them to increase brightness only when someone is present in the vicinity. 

Smart Pollution Management Systems

Almost all the major cities in the world are facing the problem of alarmingly increasing air pollution. With IoT implementations, meteorological departments can make highly accurate predictions regarding pollution in the coming days. This will help authorities to take necessary measures to reduce emissions in their cities.

The Path Ahead

The applications of IoT in building a smart city are countless. Major government and non-government companies are investing in developing equipment that can be a part of this ever-expanding connected ecosystem to build rapidly growing, ecologically sustainable smart cities. With evolving technologies, these cities will undoubtedly elevate the living style of humankind.

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