3 Reasons why we desperately need Smart Cities

It all started with the Internet of Things. Two, three, ten connected devices and before you even realize, you are living in a connected world where the devices around you know way more than you do.

Today, the Internet of Things is so ubiquitous that we can’t stop talking about Smart Cities and Smart Living.

The new era has started.

Your fridge can talk to your tablet and your smartphone will soon be best friends with your door bell! Technology is literally everywhere and it is estimated that by 2025 there will be around 88 Smart Cities all over the world, using 80% of the World’s energy and leading up to a total spending of approximately 12 billion dollars.

Sounds daunting and somehow scary, doesn’t it?

What if I told you that Smart Cities could help city councils save up to 18.8 billion dollars, create thousands of new jobs and save the planet from Global Warming? They don’t sound so bad anymore, right?

As concerns about climate change and energy source depletion increase, governments and institutions look for new solutions to deal with the problems deriving from urbanization.

Smart Cities seem to be the solution they have been looking for, as new technologies are providing new ways to deal with existing issues and drive energy source optimization.

Here are three reasons why Smart Cities will improve our future.

1)   TRAFFIC

Self-driving cars may still be a dream, but the Internet of Things is already changing the way we drive and improving traffic management.

Named the World’s Smartest City in 2015, Barcelona (Spain) has implemented several measures to optimize transportation.

Smart Parking allows drivers to receive information on the nearest available parking spots and pay their parking fees on their mobile devices; buses are rerouted based on real time traffic information and on demand; digital bus stops turn waiting for the bus in an interactive experience, and the smart rail networks transmit data to inform passengers of delays.

2)   ENVIRONMENT

Smart Cities (together with Smart Agriculture and Smart Farming) might be the solution we have all be waiting for to tackle environmental problems and save energy.

Last year, Amsterdam implemented the Flexible Street Lighting program, adjusting street lights brightness to different circumstances and weather conditions; since 2013, Barcelona has installed 19,500 Smart Meters which monitor and optimize energy consumption and helped the city council save 95 billion dollars.

Smart Living solutions allow citizens to monitor their water and energy usage in order to avoid wastage, while environmental sensors can monitor Co2 emissions, air and water pollution levels and support actions to clean up the environment.

3)   PUBLIC SECURITY

IoT devices might be the next big thing in the field of security.

Collecting and analysing data at all times, IoT devices can monitor the environment and alert authorities if suspect movements are detected; video surveillance networks allow the police to monitor city centres and tracking systems help citizens find their properties (cars, bikes, bags) once stolen. 

The implementation of smart technologies has already helped cities of the like of Barcelona, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Hong Kong optimize their operations and save energy.

Many other cities are taking the required steps to turn into Smart Cities and, given the results the IoT technologies have already produced, we cannot but wait and hope for the change to happen!

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