Technology has redefined the way we live and do our daily activities. With the advancement in technology, smart cities are popping up and they’re designed to make life in the cities much easier.
A smart city is an urban area that is designed to apply the internet of things in almost every aspect. Using the internet of things sensors that have been installed in strategic points, the city collects insights from the gained data.
These data are used to plan for proper management and efficient allocation of services and resources where appropriate. Therefore, the way the city runs is improved and the operations are enhanced and made effective.
A global study that was done involved an analysis that ranked the existing smart cities.
According to the findings that were done on webometric studies, it was found that there are about 27 leading smart cities in the world. Some of these smart cities include Singapore, London, and Barcelona.
With the emergence of smart cities, we are left with one question, and that is whether smart cities solve the challenges that urban areas face.
Below are some of the sectors that face challenges in most urban areas, and how smart city technologies have helped to solve the problems:
- The water sector
4 Urban Challenges that Smart Cities Work on Solving
The strategic placement and building of the various infrastructural facilities can be a challenge in most cities due to several reasons. Also, the excessive building of infrastructure in one concentrated area comes with a challenge.
Some of these challenges include clearing of vegetation cover and lack of enough spaces.
Smart cities encourage the construction of smart buildings, where services such as air conditioning, ventilation, heating, and efficient use of energy have been maximized. To manage smart buildings, building-integrated photovoltaics have been used.
Another infrastructural development that faces some challenges is the road sector. In smart cities, smart roads have been implemented.
Smart roads involve the use of technologies such as control sensors that help in the monitoring of the traffic patterns and traffic jams, for effective planning and design of future roads.
Smart technology also detects the malfunctioning equipment such as traffic lights and the effect that traffic has on the environment. Therefore, proper planning and adjustments can be made.
The water sector
Water is the most prioritized resource in any city.
Water is life, and it has to be preserved and availed whenever the need arises because, without it, no city can survive. The proper management of water systems is one of the main challenges that are faced by most cities.
Unsatisfactory water treatment and management can lead to huge losses of water through leaks and other ways. Most cities can’t provide proper drinking and domestic water efficiently to the inhabitants.
Populations continue to increase in cities, and the demand for water increases yearly, hence, the need for better water provision services. However, with smart city development programs, this problem is being reversed.
Smart cities are now focusing on how to provide clean and soft water that can be used effectively. Some of the ways smart cities have been able to tackle the water scarcity problem are:
- Provision of water softening systems such as no salt softener This is important because hard water leads to a waste of resources.
- Sensors have been put in place to automate the water systems.
- Smart water meters are being deployed in remote areas.
- Efficient management of water facilities, their operations, and effective management.
Individuals in smart cities can also invest in water softeners for their homes or businesses. They have to determine which water softener to choose to ensure residential and commercial premises have soft water.
Another sector in urban areas that faces lots of challenges is the mobility sector. With smart cities technology, the manufacture and use of electric vehicles are promoted.
Other means of transport such as public transport and self-service bikes are also deployed to help ease mobility problems.
Some smart cities have also encouraged their inhabitants to use carpooling networks.
Charging stations for vehicles using electricity have also been installed.
A lot of energy is consumed in the lighting sector. This is why smart city technologies encourage lighting optimization that helps to reduce the amount of energy used in lighting.
An adequate amount of light is provided at the correct times, and this helps to preserve energy. There are also intelligent streetlights that are weatherproof and use energy efficiently. Benefits range from safer traffic to increased public safety.
Smart cities have been emerging in bits, depending on the involved governments’ plans. Today there are more than 20 smart cities in the world, but up to 1875, there were only about three megacities.
According to statistics, the market opportunity for IT in smarter cities is estimated at about 34 billion dollars yearly.