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Sep 09 2014

How smart cities can improve our lives

Cities are growing faster than the world population. It is increasingly challenging for large and fast growing cities to manage their operations. The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling ‘things’ (objects and devices) in our lives to exchange data in a common network. The IoT will play a major role in developing smart cities that help planners truly understand our everyday tasks. But how can smart cities improve our lives? By 2020, the IoT will connect more than 26 billion devices and almost anything – your connected car, your pet’s collar and even your city – will communicate with other things. Innovations in IoT technology are helping private and public organizations gain insight into the needs of their communities. Cities will become smart by:

  • Developing strategies to plan for long-term growth
  • Creating more energy-efficient environments
  • Improving their infrastructure
  • Keeping citizens safe

Communication service providers are looking at smart cities as a market to reach consumers from energy, government, transportation, utility and other sectors. Service providers that want to prove their technology will help manage operations and adapt to cities. But the Internet of things isn’t just about technology. It’s about improving the everyday lifestyle and considering the human factor in every organization or community.

IoT technology can help cities streamline operation, reduce resource consumption and enable better services to citizens. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how smart cities can help organizations.

Operational efficiency

Asset tracking will streamline operations and achieve operational efficiency like never before. Cities will be able to track the location of city assets such as utility vehicles, containers or buses and raise alerts when unexpected events occur. Let’s say a driver comes to an unexpected long stop. An alert will be immediately raised and if an event occurs, the city can find the closest suitable vehicle to take its place.

Environmental advantages

Smart cities can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve waste management. Boston University used Big Belly to install self-powered trash receptacles which wirelessly alerted collection vehicles when they were full. The result? On-campus trash collection was reduced from 14 times per week to an average of 1.6 times per week.

Service improvements

Smart city machines will enable better services to citizens by managing operations without human intervention. Intelligent lighting can turn off all the lights where no one is physically nearby. And humidity sensors can adjust to maintain the perfect temperature. Smart cities present an enormous opportunity to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits. However, finding the right platform can be difficult. Only the right platform, to collect the right data, will drive mass market adoption to millions of consumers. What do you think? How big do you think smart city technologies actually is? Please share your thoughts by emailing me at networks.nokia_news@nokia.com. I’d like to hear from you.

About Anthony Trinh
When he’s not blogging or tweeting, Anthony Trinh (@Trinh_Anthony) is a fourth-year marketing and information systems student from Carleton University in Ottawa. Anthony found his passion in social media, technology and data to share his thoughts online and listen to others.
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