How the smart city concept is being implemented around the world
The smart city concept was a hot topic at the recent International Wireless Communications Expo in Las Vegas, both in the official programming as well as the conversations over lunch and in the hallways. By using new communications technologies combined with IoT solutions, urban developments are dramatically changing and fulfilling a new vision.
The IoT was a big focus of the conference, especially in terms of products that can be used to power smart cities. FreeWave Technologies demonstrated its WaveContact Family, which communicates with IoT devices for oil, gas, electric power, water and wastewater and environmental monitoring, and its Wave Pro product, which provides wireless connectivity in remote areas. Forbes reported that during the conference, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced its Grand Challenge for people to submit solutions to military and civilian IoT devices that adapt to the crowded spectrum environment.
Like many things, smart cities start with wireless technology. Without a solid wireless network to power IoT technology, the cities of the future simply aren’t possible. By putting a communication infrastructure in the heart of a city, they can truly become smart by taking advantage of technology to most efficiently control all operations, including government, transportation and education. By leveraging technology, cities can operate in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner through smart building, homes and energy. Cities can even take it further through positive train control to reduce crashes and further expand the smart city concept.
However, smart cities bring new challenges, especially in terms of security. One session at the expo focused on what would happen if an autonomous bus fleet were jammed or hacked. It’s essential to build the communication infrastructure from the ground up with security at the forefront. Reliability is another key challenge. Wireless networks going down will no longer be just an inconvenience, but rather potentially disastrous as part of a smart city concept.
Smart cities have moved well beyond topics at conferences and into reality. Many cities are now incorporating the smart city IoT technology discussed at the International Wireless Communications Expo into their infrastructures, and citizens’ daily lives. Here are three cities that are combining IoT and communication technologies to move smart city vision into the streets:
1. Lake Nora: Improving wellness
Government Technology reported that Lake Nona, Florida, has recently launched a wellness platform that will integrate smart city technology to create a wellness platform in homes and help improve community life. The development was built with technology in mind, with 10 million square feet of commercial property with gigabit connectivity. This initiative will transform houses into living laboratories that collect information and provide solutions for wellness issues, such as sleep, nutrition and chronic care.
2. Barcelona: Traffic and water management
By using smart parking meters, smart street lights, IoT sensors to reroute traffic and sensors for air quality, Barcelona is integrating smart technology throughout the city, reported the IoT Institute. Additionally, to reduce water usage, the city uses IoT sensors to analyze rainfall and predict rain to most effectively use the city sprinklers and reduce water usage.
3. Denver Airport: Creating the future
Though it’s not the whole city, a section of Denver is evolving as a smart city near the Denver Airport. Starting with smart streetlights, a driverless shuttle and sensors measuring air quality, this city will employ the latest in technology to manage and improve quality of life and infrastructure, reported the Denver Post.
By focusing on infrastructure, smart city concepts can move in many different directions as technology continues to evolve. However, the first order of business for any smart city project is to start with the communication infrastructure — without it, your smart city cannot graduate.