Questions on Smart City Living

Smart City Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked Smart City living questions:

What is meant by a Smart City?

The depth and breadth of technologies implemented under the smart city model make it difficult to offer a precise definition. However, the meaning of a smart city is generally accepted to be an urban area that leverages technology to provide services and solve problems. Data is collected using different types of electronic methods and sensors. It is then analyzed using special tools, and the insights gained used for operational improvements in traffic movement, garbage collection, crime management, utility supply, environmental management, and the management of social services. Information and communication technologies allow city officials to monitor the city in real-time and interact with the community. Smart cities improve the citizens’ quality of life and drive economic growth.

What are the features of a Smart City?

For a city to be regarded as smart it must possess the following features or characteristics:

  • Fulfilling Citizens’ Needs: education, health care, housing, infrastructure needs, and digital equality.
  • Infrastructure & Resources: delivering enhanced key services to citizens and businesses reliably and cost-effectively.
  • Jobs & Competitiveness: improving the city’s competitiveness, economic growth, creating jobs, and retraining programs.
  • Security: protection against cyber-attacks and natural disasters.
  • Smart Planning and Citizen Support: “intelligent” data analysis and broad community involvement.
  • Sustainability/Circular Economy: managing environmental change, urbanization, and coping with population growth and climate change.
  • Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Use of smart technology to support community needs.

What are the important features of a smart city?

The most important feature of a smart city is the use of technology and artificial intelligence to run the city. This aspect is what gives it the “smart” moniker. The use of tech and AI ensures efficient infrastructure use, the effective engagement between officials and citizens, and provides a learning framework that fosters quick adaptation and innovation to changing circumstances.

Do we need Smart Cities?

This is the wrong question to ask. It isn’t a matter of whether we need smart cities; the real question is whether we can do without them. Today’s cities grapple with a wide range of problems. These problems include never-ending traffic snarls, runaway pollution, high crime levels, high energy consumption, unemployment, inadequate or overstretched social services, and a myriad of other challenges. Broadband communications systems, cybersecurity concepts, and smart city planning are the key to making 21st-century urban living better.

Are Smart Cities worth it?

To the extent that smart cities can solve contemporary urban problems, they are worth the investment. However, smart does not automatically mean better, more livable, or more secure. For example, living in a smart city might curtail our privacy and potentially threaten democratic core values such as freedom,

liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The reason is that technology has consequences such as loss of privacy, hackers, and techno-terrorist attacks. In smart cities, the already wide divide between rural and urban populations, culture, and politics has the potential to become wider with dangerous implications. Human beings must work hard to make our cities places where we would want to live and raise our families. Technology is not a panacea. It provides an improvement in the quality of life only with proper planning and clear thinking.

What is the difference between a Smart City and normal city?

There are stark differences between a smart city and a normal city. Probably the key distinguishing feature of a smart city is the presence of connected objects. In a smart city, objects are more than meets the eye. For example, what may appear to be a simple lamp post may also be a weather sensor and traffic camera that’s connected to the Internet. It may also use smart lighting that auto-adjusts based on natural light. In a smart city, the Internet of Things – the idea that 5G Internet will make it possible to connect a vast range of devices – creates a wide range of possibilities.

Secondly, smart cities have engaged citizens. The citizens build the city by participating in data collection through their devices. It is the power of data that leads to cities becoming smart cities.

Smart cities also have streamlined transportation systems. Users can consult real-time information about public transport, and transportation routes are optimally planned.

Environmental friendliness and sustainability are additional hallmarks of smart cities. Smart cities are administered by following energy-efficient policies resulting in massive annual savings.

These are just some of the things that differentiate smart cities from normal cities.

How do Smart Cities aim to be sustainable?

The concept of sustainability in a smart city refers to using intelligent planning and management to conserve the natural environment, manage natural resources prudently, and save on energy costs. Sustainability is a critical principle because of the challenges posed by rapid urbanization. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), 66% of the global population will be residing in urban areas. This will put tremendous pressure on existing infrastructure, natural resources, and drive-up energy needs, hence the need for sustainable management. Smart cities leverage technology to solve these problems.

What would a future smart city look like?

A future smart city is a scene straight out of a science fiction movie. Some of the technologies that will define cities of the future include:

  • Advanced Cybersecurity
  • Artificial Intelligence and Super Automation
  • Driverless Transport
  • Human-Machine Interfaces
  • Internet of Everything
  • M2M Communications and Pervasive Broadband Mobile
  • Smart Energy Grids
  • Talking and Serviceable Bots
  • Telecity Architecture and Virtual Companies
  • Telework, Tele-education and Tele-Health Services

Which city is known as Smart City?

Several cities are considered to be leading the smart cities initiative. One of these is Singapore, a city-state in South Asia. According to Juniper Research, Singapore ranks at the top for four smart indices, namely, mobility, health, safety, and productivity. This makes it a leading contender for the smart city title. It is the second-most densely populated city in the world and has an aging population. Confronted by these facts, the government sought ways to improve productivity in an advanced economy. Sensors linked to aggregation boxes collect information throughout the city. Vehicular and human traffic data is sent to analysts for action and as input in service delivery. Broadband is widely available with Internet penetration one of the highest in the world. The government plans to install energy-efficient intelligent lighting on all roads and install solar panels on about 6,000 buildings by 2022.

How many Smart Cities are there?

Smart cities are popping up on all continents and in all parts of the world. It is not possible to state an exact because this is a rapidly evolving area. Suffice it to say that almost all countries have smart city initiatives ongoing or in the planning stages.

What is the aim of Smart Cities?

There are several things we can say for sure. The future urban world will be rife with significant change, as will be seen in the following areas:

  • Better resource management.
  • Social, economic, and cultural changes.
  • Human-machine interfaces will be critical to security and progress.
  • Lifelong education and retraining will become a way of life.
  • Multiple job changes and careers will be commonplace as we cope with super-automation.
  • People will live longer.
  • Environmental protection and prudent management of natural resources.

What makes a Smart City smart?

The use of technology to collect data and solve problems is at the core of what makes a city smart. However, although smart technology is critical, what makes a smart city is re-envisioning its

design and function to produce a better quality of life and living standards for its citizens. A smart city provides a community with the following:

  • Improved health care and educational opportunities.
  • Higher security against natural and human-made disasters
  • Social and political stability and freedom.
  • Economic prosperity and thriving businesses
  • Better housing.
  • Seamless transportation, communications, networking, energy, and all other critical utilities.

What is a Smart City example?

There are dozens of smart city examples from around the world. In the United States, you have Boston, New York, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. Examples in Europe would include Olso, Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, and Copenhagen. Key examples in Asia and Oceania would include Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Melbourne, Tokyo, Wuxi, and Yinchuan.

Which is the Smartest City in the world?

Several cities can be said to be the trailblazers in implementing smart city concepts. The smartest city tag depends on the scoring criteria. For example, according to IESE Cities in Motion Index, London was the smartest city in 2020 for a second consecutive year. Other researchers rank Singapore as the smartest city in the world. A high population density has forced the Singaporean government to fast-track smart city initiatives. Other cities that can claim the crown include Dubai, Oslo, Copenhagen, Boston, Amsterdam, New York, Barcelona, and Hong Kong.

How does a Smart City work?

Smart cities rely on connected devices and sensors. Devices include smartphones and other Internet-enabled mobile gadgets, electronic devices, vehicles, connected home appliances, and just about any device with an Internet connection. Sensors are installed in various places around the city to collect data such as foot and vehicle traffic, weather information, crime incidents, energy consumption, other utility usages, and much more data. This data is analyzed in real-time by city officials and citizens to make decisions such as traffic routes and security deployments. Historical data reveals trends that inform infrastructure planning decisions and resource management.

What are the Smart Cities in the world?

New cities are continuously joining the ranks of smart cities. According to the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) 2020 Smart Cities Index, 109 cities worldwide are implementing technology across five key areas: mobility, health and safety, governance, activities, and opportunities. In so doing, they are mitigating the shortcomings of urbanization and can be side to be smart. The top ten 2020 rankings by IMD are as follows:

  1. Singapore
  2. Helsinki
  3. Zurich
  4. Auckland
  5. Oslo
  6. Copenhagen
  7. Geneva
  8. Taipei City
  9. Amsterdam
  10. New York

Where is the first Smart City?

There is no consensus on which city was the first smart city. Los Angeles was the first city to conduct a massive data collection project in 1974. But at that time, there lacked ubiquitous computing and networking capabilities and data analytic tools. Though there is no consensus, Santander in Northern Spain is likely the first truly smart city. The city has had over 20,000 censors distributed across the city since 2009. These sensors measure everything from soil moisture to traffic data.

What are the four pillars of Smart City?

The four pillars of a smart city are insights drawn from the developmental roadmap of leading smart cities from around the world. They include:

  • Network connectivity: an IoT-enabled infrastructure with a robust network of devices and connected applications.
  • Effective mobility: this could be achieved in several ways, such as through intelligent transport systems, shared mobility, mobility as a service, and so on.
  • Cyber resilience: the ability to strike a delicate balance between efficiency and data privacy.
  • City engagement: Involvement by citizens in smart city initiatives.

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Terry Brown

Terry Brown

Terry is an experienced product management and marketing professional having worked for technology based companies for over 30 years, in different industries including; Telecoms, IT Service Management (ITSM), Managed Service Providers (MSP), Enterprise Security, Business Intelligence (BI) and Healthcare. He has extensive experience defining and driving marketing strategy to align and support the sales process. He is also a fan of craft beer and Lotus cars.