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What You Need To Know Before Investing In Smart City Infrastructure

CEO at LANARS Norge. Specialist in hardware and software engineering.

A smart city is one of the buzzwords in the business environment and IT sphere. The notion of a smart city is a promising one. It offers many options and solutions for efficient organization of urban spaces and cooperation between systems within the city as well as between people, authorities and many more.

According to Statista, the global smart cities market is expected to grow to the value of about $1.38 trillion by 2030, whereas in 2019, the value of the market amounted only to $392.9 billion.

The possibilities that smart cities hold for citizens and technology are pretty limitless. But with everything positive said, are there any pitfalls? Are there any controversial points to consider, or does the future of a smart city look all bright and shiny?

Besides considering the possibilities, there is also a need to consider managemental issues and strategies for implementing smart city infrastructure in an environment. Let us break down all the points to consider in the smart city infrastructure domain and discover current trends and forecasts for the future.

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What is a smart city?

A smart (digital, intelligent or wired) city is a city that incorporates various information technologies and innovations for the sake of making the lives of its citizens easier, providing better management of resources, improving the quality of overall infrastructure and services, and reducing waste, energy consumption and pollution.

Such cities are highly connected, and the Internet of Things is one of the key drivers for them, as machines, vehicles, systems and devices need to communicate with each other, share and gather data, and automation is predominant there.

There are two ways a city can become smart:

1. Building a brand-new city with all the necessary technologies from scratch (such cities are Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates or Songdo in South Korea).

2. Implementing and integrating the strategies and technologies in an already existing city. Some cities around the globe are already using this strategy, such as Amsterdam, Singapore, London and Dubai.

Key Sectors In A Smart City

With many successful cases of intelligent systems integration throughout many cities, what are the main domains to take care of in the first place? There are three key smart city sectors:

• Communications

• Energy

• Transportation

These spheres require more attention, more funding and more research and development in order to provide the city with efficient solutions and improve citizens’ welfare.

Communications

To ensure high connectivity in the city, the Internet of Things requires a great number of devices and sensors to be employed in urban systems, thus, 5G is a key figure in making it all work. Software systems, or machines that can gather, process and store information from citizens and devices, using artificial intelligence also come into the picture and need to be wisely integrated into the ecosystem.

Another unit of the communication sphere in a smart city is data centers as more users choose to store their data away from the devices, hence, there is a need for cloud/edge computing technologies employment. Also, smart city empowerment needs the security issue to be tackled with high attention, as with lots of data stored in the clouds, online, it becomes extremely vulnerable to hackers, data leaks and security breaches.

Energy

Undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the sheer existence of smart cities is improved energy consumption with the usage of alternative energy. Smart cities should use renewable energy sources only (wind, solar, ocean, all in all, low-carbon energy or hybrid). It is important for smart cities to become self-sufficient in terms of energy.

Smart grids, green buildings, lithium-ion batteries for energy storage and smart waste management systems are the solutions to consider when you come to the point of making energy decisions in a smart city.

Transportation

With overcrowded cities, our perspective should shift toward autonomous vehicles as well as shared and electric transportation. The data gathered with our smart sensors can also be used here to send alerts and insights, making people use alternative routes or commute during off-hours.

EVs are a green alternative that use electric power and does not pollute the air with harmful chemicals. Mobility as a service (MaaS) is getting a rise in popularity that can facilitate the transition from mass transit to on-demand transportation, using already existing transportation assets of the city. Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles offer another potential solution that could reduce traffic congestion and relieve traffic in transport hubs.

Summary

Smart cities are a bright vision of the urban future, and they constitute a huge smart ecosystem that includes smaller local intelligent systems inside of every device employed there.

Smart city enablers and pioneers need to tackle the communication side within the city, safeguarding the interests of the citizens and ensuring their safety and welfare, efficiently managing the energy system, preserving the environment, and dealing with transportation to make it green and comfortable for the public. Keeping those aspects in mind is the key to a successful onset of the creation of a smart city.


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