Improving Citizen Experience: Four Smart Services in Urban Living
The smart city leverages advanced technologies and data-driven solutions to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, livability, and overall quality of life for its residents. These cities use interconnected digital infrastructure, including the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, sensors, data analytics, and communication networks, to collect, process, and analyse vast amounts of information in real-time.
But what does this actually mean for the people who live in smart cities? Already, 240 European cities with populations over 100,000 have made progress towards becoming smart cities. According to a recent global study, over a third (36%) are willing to pay more for using smart-city initiatives. A look at how these initiatives affect citizens tells us why.
Citizens want sustainability
Worldwide, citizens are concerned about pollution (42%) and the lack of sustainability initiatives (36%) in their cities, and may leave as a result. Of 10,000 people surveyed across nine countries – seven of which are European – 58% say smart-city living will be more sustainable.
Recent advancements in Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and smart grid technologies, along with the proliferation of smart metres, are playing a pivotal role in propelling intelligent and sustainable urban centres.
By scrutinising energy consumption patterns, weather information, and various factors, AI and IoT technologies can fine-tune energy distribution, forecast energy requirements, and pinpoint opportunities for conserving energy. AI algorithms are adept at adapting the energy usage of buildings, streetlights, and other infrastructure in real-time, responding to fluctuations in demand and current data.
Environmental monitoring is a hallmark of the advanced smart city. AI is capable of analysing data derived from sensors, satellites, and weather stations to oversee air quality, noise levels, waste management, and water quality. AI algorithms can identify irregularities, predict potential environmental threats, and trigger proactive measures for pollution control and resource management.
Improving air quality directly benefits the health and well being of citizens by reducing the risk of respiratory issues and related healthcare costs. environmental threats. Imagine, too, if weather data predicts heavy rainfall. AI algorithms can trigger preemptive actions such as flood barriers or alerts to residents in flood-prone areas, reducing property damage and ensuring citizen safety.
Smart transport and mobility
One out of five workers in Europe spend more than 90 minutes commuting each day. It’s easy to understand why transport and mobility ranked as the number-one concern in multiple European cities.
Smart cities are harnessing the power of technology to revolutionise transportation and mobility. These cities are deploying a range of IoT and AI solutions to ease commute times, reduce congestion, and give citizens back the time they waste stuck in traffic. Not all can cut commute times, but at the very least, they can reduce the stress of getting to work and home again. Some of these technologies include:
- Intelligent traffic management systems: These systems use real-time data from cameras, sensors, and traffic lights to monitor and manage traffic flow. They can adjust traffic signal timings, implement dynamic lane management, and provide alternative routes to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.
- Public transportation apps: Mobile apps offer real-time information on public transportation options, schedules, and delays. They can also provide trip planning, ticket purchasing, and updates on the status of buses, trains, and trams.
- Bike and scooter sharing: Cities are introducing bike- and scooter-sharing programs, allowing residents to rent micro-mobility options for short trips. These services reduce the reliance on cars for short-distance travel.
- Smart parking solutions: IoT-based parking systems help drivers find available parking spots quickly, reducing the time spent searching for parking and alleviating traffic congestion.
- Traffic data analytics: Big data and analytics are used to analyse traffic patterns, identify congestion hotspots, and predict future traffic conditions. This information is used to make data-driven decisions for traffic management and infrastructure planning.
- Connectivity and 5G: High-speed internet and 5G connectivity enable real-time communication between vehicles, traffic signals, and infrastructure. This connectivity supports vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, which enhances road safety and traffic management.
- Smart mobility hubs: These hubs integrate different modes of transportation, such as buses, trams, bikes, and car-sharing services, in one location. They provide seamless transfer options for commuters, reducing travel times and improving the overall commute experience.
- Digital signage and information displays: Electronic signs and displays at transportation hubs and along major routes provide real-time updates on traffic conditions, public transport schedules, and emergency alerts to keep commuters informed.
The feeling of security
Europeans across the board – particularly in London, Berlin, Stockholm, and Barcelona to name a few – cited security as a major pain point with city living.
Here again, technologies can boost citizens’ safety. A study out of the U.S. reveals a notable trend emerging that uses existing infrastructure such as street lighting. Improved street lighting has shown the potential to decrease general crime rates by 21% and more severe crimes by 36%. Smart lighting systems can adjust brightness based on real-time conditions, saving energy and increasing safety.
Implementing a variety of smart technologies, such as cameras and sensors integrated into streetlights, has reduced crime by as much as 40% in those areas. It could also lead to quicker emergency response times, with improvements ranging from 20% to 35%, and contribute to an 8 – 10% reduction in fatalities caused by homicides, road traffic incidents, and fires.
Smart cities often use extensive surveillance camera networks, both in public areas and on public transport, to deter criminal activity and quickly respond to incidents. Real-time monitoring allows authorities to detect and address safety concerns promptly.
Clean living: waste management
Efficient waste management helps prevent the spread of diseases and ensures public health and safety. Smart cities focus on collecting and disposing of waste promptly, minimising the risk of pests, contamination, and the release of harmful substances. By reducing health hazards and maintaining a hygienic living environment, residents are not only happier, but healthier.
In the global survey already mentioned – comprised mostly of European cities – 56% of residents would be willing to use digital tracking and payment for waste disposal, and just over a third (36%) would be willing to pay for it. Residents (64%) also liked the idea of optimising waste collection routes based on availability of garbage to be collected, saving time and effort, with 37% willing to pay for it. Another feature that 63% would use and 38% would pay for: smart garbage bins to alert municipalities when the bin is nearing capacity and needs to be collected.
IoT, AI, machine learning, and other technologies enable a holistic approach to waste management. They’re innovative strategies that encompass real-time monitoring, route optimisation, automated sorting and categorisation, and the accurate prediction of waste generation trends. IoT technologies have played a pivotal role in establishing a data-driven waste management system, providing actionable insights for streamlined collection and disposal processes.
Machine learning algorithms, in conjunction with high-resolution image processing, have facilitated the automation of waste identification and sorting, bolstering recycling initiatives and propelling us towards a circular economy. Concurrently, the integration of geographic information systems and big-data analytics has led to more precise mapping and tracking of waste generation, pinpointing inefficiencies and potential areas for enhancement.
Planning your smart city
AMCS plays a critical role in helping smart cities develop their waste and recycling efforts through innovative technology solutions. By providing software and tools designed for efficient waste and recycling management, AMCS contributes to the sustainability and overall effectiveness of smart city initiatives.
Specifically, what technologies define the smart city? And how do you get started? We urge you to join us for our insightful webinar: Smart Ways to the Digital City, February 29th / 10:30am GMT. We’ll take you through everything you need to know. Register now for this don’t-miss opportunity.
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