A smart city is the outcome of the knowledge-based economy and accelerated development of the new age information technology. It is based on the combination of the Internet, broadcast network, a telecommunications network, wireless broadband, and other smart sensors with Internet of Things (IoT) at its heart. The chief feature of a smart city includes comprehensive utilization of information resources and a high degree of information technology integration. The essential elements of urban development for a smart city should consist of smart industry, smart technology, smart management, smart service, and smart life.
The IoT is about installing sensors such as laser scanners and GPS for tasks and connecting them to the internet via specific protocols for communication and information exchange. This is done to attain location, monitoring, tracking, management, and intelligent recognition in a city. A smart city needs to have three key features – interconnectedness, instrumented, and intelligent, and this can be achieved with technical support from Internet of Things.
Read on to know more about the elements of a smart city and its impact in the IoT era.
- Smart Infrastructure
The extensive market for smart urban infrastructure in smart cities includes smart parking, smart lighting, advanced connected streets, and other transportation innovations. Here is how they work:
- Smart Lighting: With the help of smart lighting, city authorities can keep a track on real-time use of lights to deliver demand-based lighting in several zones and optimize illumination. Smart lighting and smart ceiling fans also help in saving energy by turning down sectors with no inhabitants and daylight harvesting. For example, parking lots can be dimmed during work hours and automatically illuminate when a car enters.
- Connected Streets: Smart streets are apt for delivering services and information and acquiring data to and from several devices, which includes data about roadworks, traffic, and road blockages. IoT is the network used to connect all the devices to each other, and connected streets help in efficient management of people and resources to enhance urban landscape and public transportation.
- Smart Parking Management: IoT network and smart parking system can be used to find vacant spots for a vehicle at different public places. In-ground vehicle detection sensors are the technology used, which plays a key role in the smart parking programme that is transforming how drivers in the city centres and malls find an unoccupied parking spot. Wireless sensors are implanted into the parking space, which transmits information regarding the time and duration of the space used via signal processors into a central parking management application. Smart parking decreases vehicle emissions, reduces congestion, cuts driver stress, and lower enforcement cost. Each device needs to have constant connectivity to the cloud servers for effective implementation of smart parking technology.
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- Connected Charging Stations: Smart infrastructure should also include charging stations in parking lots, shopping malls, airports, city fleets, and bus stations across the city. Electric vehicle (EV) charging point can be integrated with IoT to streamline the function of charging and address the effect on the power grid.
- Smart Buildings & Properties
Smart property utilizes different systems to ensure security and safety of the building, maintenance of resources, and overall good condition of the surrounding.
- Security & Safety Systems: Security and safety system include implementing biometrics, remote monitoring, surveillance cameras, and wireless alarms to reduce unauthorised access to buildings and the possibility of thefts. With the help of IoT, all the devices can be seamlessly connected, and can be accessed on your smartphone. Detecting people in non-authorized areas, stopping the access of restricted area on the property, and using perimeter access control is also a part of this security system.
- Sprinkler & Smart Garden System: Smart sprinkler system with connected technology can be used to water plants. On the other hand, smart garden devices can perform tasks such as helping the city authorities to save the water (smart sprinkler devices use weather information to stay off when it rains automatically), measure soil moisture and level of fertilizer, and lastly keep the grass from overgrowing with the help of robotic lawnmowers.
- Smart Ventilation & Heating: Smart ventilation and heating systems monitor several perimeters such as pressure, vibration, temperature, humidity of the property, and other public places such as historical monuments and movie theaters. With the help of wireless sensor network, the data is collected to optimize the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system to improve their performance and efficiency in the buildings.
- Smart Energy Management
Here’s how cities can practice smart energy management:
- Smart Grid: A smart grid is a self-healing, digitally monitored energy system that delivers gas or electricity from generation source. Smart grid solutions can be residential, industrial, or distribution and transmission projects. IoT solutions like gateways can be used to conserve energy at both transmission level and consumer level. For example, gateways can provide an in-depth summary of energy consumption to utility companies with real-time analytics and high connectivity. It also develops a demand-response system for the utility providers to strengthen energy distribution based on consumption level.
- Smart Meters: A smart meter can be used in industrial sectors and residential areas for gas and electricity expenditure where there is a need to determine real-time data on energy usage. Consumers and companies with smart meters can monitor their energy consumption. Additionally, energy reports, analytics, and public dashboards can be accessed over the internet via mobile applications connected with these smart meters.
The dynamic growth of the Internet of Things and Smart City create many engineering and scientific challenges that call for insightful research from both industry and academia, especially for the development of scalable, reliable, and efficient smart city based on IoT. With the help of a smart city, there is an enormous opportunity to modify the lives of people and improve the city operations and infrastructure. Connected technologies, smart sensor networks, and the IoT are the crucial solutions for smart city implementation.
The above is an authored content by Arindam Paul, who is a founding member of Atomberg Technologies, a startup working towards manufacturing unique energy efficient fans and tech savvy products. He is currently heading the Marketing and Long term strategy division at Atomberg and is aiming to disrupt the world of household appliances.