Smart City

by Guest Author on September 21, 2015

in Articles, Guest Posts

Image courtesy of khunaspix /

Image courtesy of khunaspix /

This is a city that uses digital technologies to enhance performance and quality of services, to reduce resource consumption and cost and to engage more actively and effectively with its citizens.

It may also be as a result of environmental changes like climate change, economic restructuring, the movement to online retail and entertainment, ageing populations and pressures on public finances. A smart city uses information technologies to:

  • Make more use of physical infrastructure through data analytics and artificial intelligence to support a strong and healthy economic, social, cultural development.
  • Engage efficiently with the local community in local governance. There is improvement of the combined intelligence of the institutions of the city through e-governance.
  • Innovate, learn and adapt and thus respond more effectively and promptly to changing scenarios by making the intelligence of the city much better.

The city evolves towards a strong combination of collective intelligence, human intelligence, and artificial intelligence.

The rise of new internet technologies promoting the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud based services, real world user interfaces, use of smart phones and smart meters, networks of sensors and more accurate communication based on the semantic web open new ways to collective action and collaborative problem solving.

There are online services that enable sensor owners to connect and register the devices to feed data known as shared sensor information management platforms.

Electronic or smart cards are familiar platforms in smart city scenarios. A single identifier allows governments to aggregate data about citizens and their preferences.

Large energy management, telecommunication and information technology companies e.g. Cisco and IBM have come up with initiatives and new solutions for intelligent cities. Cisco launched the Global Intelligent Urbanization initiative to help cities using the network to arrive at a better life quality, incorporated city management and develop the economy. It’s not just about a fast broadband.

There are a couple of cities aggressively pursuing a smart city strategy and there is a struggle not to get lost in internet of things (IoT) but instead focus on the people the smart cities are intended for.

Case Studies

City of Amsterdam

To improve public safety, reduce traffic and save energy the city of Amsterdam has developed projects that run on an interconnected platform through wireless devices.

The city runs the Amsterdam Smart City Challenge to promote efforts from local residents. Proposals for applications and developments that fit within the city’s framework are accepted. Moby park is an example of an app developed by residents that enables parking spaces to be rent out by their owners for a fee. Data generated from this app can also be used by the city to determine parking demand and traffic flows in the city.

A number of homes have been provided with smart energy meters, with incentives offered to those that aggressively reduce energy consumption. There is also flexible street lighting which enables municipalities to control how bright street lights are as well as smart traffic management where traffic is monitored in real time by the city. The information about the traffic on the roads is availed to motorists so that they can decide on the best routes to take.

City of Santa Cruz

There is monitoring and analysis of crime data by the local authorities in order to predict police requirements and enable police presence where necessary. A list of 10 places where property crimes are more likely to occur is generated by the analytical tools. The police are then sent to these regions. This highlights the breadth of the smart city model in many diverse regions of the world.

Guest article written by: The author is the creative force behind nairobiTechie.He is happiest with a cup of tea on his side creating content and innovating. Contact him on [email protected]


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