JD Ross: Defining Today's Smart City

As part of Opus Talent Solutions, JD Ross Energy are a specialist Energy and Renewables recruitment brand with experts recruiting across 4 international locations. Have a read of Matt Sykes views on Smart Cities and how they are changing the landscape today.

Our world is rapidly becoming more urbanised. Based on studies by the United Nations, nearly 70% of our global population will live in cities by 2050. Cities may hold the majority of global wealth, they also are the main contributors to carbon emissions, producing over 70% of carbon dioxide and consuming over 60% of energy worldwide. With more people moving into urban areas, the challenge now lies with creating a sustainable and smart city for the future.

To enhance city living and improve the use of resources, urban areas are integrating internet-connected systems in infrastructure, lighting, parking and other urban facilities to create the technological side of a smart city. Working alongside specialist businesses, smart cities are utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve the quality of life for urban communities.

Smart cities use intelligent systems to enhance infrastructure and engage people in the management of their city. An integrated system of sensors, networks and other applications generate insightful data on urban activities such as energy consumption, carbon dioxide levels and traffic congestion. This data is valuable in improving a city’s performance, enhancing transport networks, the environment, infrastructure and public services.

Smart Transportation

Traffic is a major challenge for most cities with congestion levels causing a rise in CO2 emissions and further road accidents. Smart cities are introducing new features such as congestion sensors to divert traffic and smart parking meters to indicate available parking to drivers, reducing wasted driving time around cities.

The city of London has managed to improve its CO2 levels directly through transportation. Each day, the city removes 70,000 cars off the road by implementing a roadblock within central business areas and enforcing charges to anyone who does drive within this area. Copenhagen has promoted GPS powered traffic lights that favour cyclists over drivers, decreasing the overall travel time by nearly 20%.

Autonomous Buildings

Buildings consume significant amounts of energy each day. Cities such as Singapore are utilising innovative IoT-powered cooling systems to tackle these problems, controlling heating, cooling and overall energy usage based on specific activity in each room. The city of Seattle uses a smart analytic system to decrease its emissions for nearly half of its buildings.

Responsive Utilities

Water and electricity are vital for our daily lifestyle but managing these resources efficiently are challenging. Using IoT, smart cities are measuring energy use and controlling them depending on the situation. For example in San Diego, electricity costs are reduced massively each year by using lights that only brighten when vehicles or pedestrians approach. Smart grids offer a similar system, measuring energy consumption within the city and delivering the correct amount for each household.

Smart cities are also implementing sensor technology to monitor and detect any potential leaks around piping systems. New York saved over $70 million in water costs by enabling residents to monitor water consumption via automated meter readings.

Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability and global warming are crucial elements to consider when creating a smart city. Smart cities essentially use IoT to reduce their overall carbon footprint. Cities can use this technology to measure and monitor both pollution and carbon dioxide levels. In Beijing, air pollutants have reduced by over 20% by monitoring sources of pollution, general construction and traffic and managing these sources more effectively.

Flexible Infrastructure

Infrastructure is continuing to be improved in cities by enhancing the stability of buildings and roads in urban areas. New technology such as earth detectors can measure particular areas that may be more likely to experience tremors, enabling cities to effectively prepare and manage their infrastructure accordingly. Cities around the world are using IoT to reduce the number of cars on their roads and to improve services such as lowering waste collection. For example, Seoul has reduced its waste collection service by over 80% by implement smart waste bins around the entire city.

Community Participation

The ultimate goal of smart cities is to improve the lives of the people that live there. Whether this is by improving connectivity within the city or reducing traffic congestion, smart cities will improve the safety, comfort and lifestyle of people in urban areas. This is perfectly represented in the city of Chicago where the city has managed to reduce its crime rate each year by utilising predictive crime heat maps to support police officers. Rio de Janeiro has integrated connected video feeds, improving the response time of its emergency services by around 30%.

Smart cities are essentially interconnected areas that utilise IoT and the data to handle urban challenges. From improving traffic conditions to reducing overall energy consumption, smart cities will continue to improve the lives of urban residents worldwide.

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