Did you know that the term ‘smart’ in smart technology is actually an abbreviated form of ‘Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology’? It is pretty interesting because it says it all. Smart technology includes smart devices that are equipped with a couple of sensors that can provide data to analyze and infer from.
In the US, smart technology can be found to be used almost everywhere. For instance, Comcast Xfinity offers Xfinity Home services with smart home technology that can be managed with the touch of a button from your Xfinity smartphone. A bonus point is that all of these devices are connected through a wireless connection brought about by Xfinity internet services. These devices cannot be controlled without wireless connectivity.
Coming back to the subject at home, smart home technology can also be used in smart cities which is what we are going to explore in this article.
A smart city is referred to as one that allows for the creation, development, and promotion of technologically-challenged and sustainable urban infrastructure. In simple words, for the welfare of government services and citizens, smart technology is implemented in the cities.
The smart technology being used can be anything from surveillance cameras, vehicles, to smart home appliances, and on-street sensors. Data is collected from these devices and stored in the cloud or server which allows for improvements and efficiency towards private and public sectors.
The technology being used in smart cities uses a variety of software and user interfaces along with an internet connection that all work together to deliver solutions for the public. The internet, rather the internet of things has edge computing that focuses on the most relevant and important data being delivered over a communication network. There is also a security system that is designed to protect the data at all costs. The transmission of data from one smart city to another is also monitored.
How Smart Cities Function
There are four important steps that are used to improve the quality of life and ensure economic growth through the internet and other technologies in a smart city, which are:
- Collection; gathering real-time data through smart sensors
- Analysis; data analyzed to gather insight about the operations of city services
- Communication; data is exchanged and shared between all decision-makers
- Action; action is taken towards the improvement of operations, management of assets, and enhancement of quality of life
Citizens are also able to interact with the smart city ecosystem through their smartphone devices, connected vehicles, and buildings. Moreover, pairing devices with data and infrastructure can also lead to the reduction of costs, improved sustainability as well as streamlining some factors like energy distribution, reducing traffic congestion, and improving air quality.
For any resident, safety is the topmost priority which is also being carried out by smart cities. For instance, there is a chance of a reduction in fatalities applied through the deployment of applications. This could save up to 300 lives in a year. Other incidents such as assault, robbery, burglary, etc. can also be reduced, which gives residents peace of mind and freedom of movement.
Technology is definitely not a quick fix for all crimes happening in the city, but still, agencies can use the resources they have with smart technology to bring the number down. For instance, when incidents occur, technologies like gunshot detection, smart surveillance, and home security systems can come in handy.
Moreover, when lives are at stake in any situation, every second counts. The smart technology can optimize call centers to give traffic-signal preemption to emergency vehicles for going through clear roads.
Hence, technology can allow smart cities to adopt faster response times towards any given situation.
Cleaner and Sustainable
With the increase in urbanization, industrialization, and growth of consumption, there is also an increase in pressure of environmental impact. In smart cities, some applications being used such as building-automation systems, electricity pricing, and mobile applications could all combine to cut down emissions by 10 to 15 percent.
Other activities like water-consumption tracking can encourage people towards its conservation and reduce the consumption to 15 percent in areas where water usage is high. Moreover, there are some applications such as pay-as-you-throw (that digitally tracks your information of throwing out trash and charges you for it) that help in reducing the waste per capita by 20 percent. Smart cities can also save 25 to 80 liters of water per person each day and reduce solid waste by 30 kg per person.
In smart cities, air-quality sensors will be able to identify the source of pollution and provide actions needed to maintain it. Beijing was able to reduce deadly airborne pollutants by 20 percent. Also if such real-time air quality information is shared with the masses, then it can help them to take on protective measures.
As has been gathered from the above, there are several benefits that come with having a smart connected system in urban areas. Along with improving the quality of life, it can also ensure sustainability and the use of the resources in the best possible way. However, it is important to keep in mind that such unified approaches can be brought about by government agencies as well as private sectors and the residents. All need to be taken on a united front to deal with the challenges and improvements needed to live within smart cities.