The age of big data and Internet of Things (IoT) is already underway, thanks to advances in technology and a proliferation of Internet-connected devices. These technologies have made it possible for governments and relevant local authorities to develop and roll out sustainable smart city systems related to transport, water distribution, crime prevention, and traffic control. Here is more information on this topic:
A sustainable smart city is any urban center that leverages the power of IT to improve quality of life experienced by residents, enhance economic development, as well as manage and use natural resources in an efficient manner. According to data published by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), the smart city technology industry will generate revenues of more than $27.5 billion by 2023. In addition, 88 cities worldwide will have adopted sustainable smart city technologies by 2025.
Why Smart Cities Matter
Sustainable smart cities are becoming necessary because much of the world’s growing population is moving to urban centers. Currently, the world is home to 7.1 billion people. By 2025, this figure will grow to 8 billion. Fast forward to 2050, the number of elderly people will have ballooned to more than 2 billion from the current figure of 841 million.
In the US, urban centers are home to 82.3% of the entire population. Migration to urban centers has spawned several unique challenges. First, transport in big US cities is a problem, especially during peak commute hours. In New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the number of peak hour commuters will rise by 29%, 28%, and 27% respectively by 2030.
Another major problem the world will experience is water scarcity. At present, 89% of the world’s population relies on some form of improved water supply. Sadly, leakages are responsible for the loss of 32 billion cubic meters of water annually. By 2025, 50% of the world’s population will live in water deficient areas.
Energy is also going to be a huge problem since global energy demand will rise by 56% by 2040. The US currently ranks as the second highest energy consumer globally.
Smart City, Big Data and IoT Benefits
The best way to solve the problems discussed above is by developing and implementing multi-pronged smart city management strategies. To start with, city authorities should roll out data collection, storage, and analysis programs on a large scale (big data). Secondly, authorities in charge of urban centers should invest in IoT technology.
A good example is the installation of sensors that the relevant authorities can access via the Internet to monitor/ measure water levels, pressure, flow rate, and chemical composition in real-time. By doing so, cities would reduce operational costs and increase savings. At the same time, sensors, GPS systems, and traffic cameras installed along/at major roads, intersections, and roundabouts could help cities manage traffic flow more efficiently.
In the US, a combination of big data analytics and IoT could help a business as well as a homeowner realize energy consumption savings worth more than $1.2 trillion. The same technologies could help players in the agriculture sector improve crop yields, farm management, and water usage.
Sustainable Smart City Case Studies
A smart water management system installed in Dubuque, IA helped households reduce water consumption by an average of 7%. In Santander, Spain, the installation of RFID and GPRS sensors led to the reduction of energy costs by 25% and waste management expenses by 20%. San Francisco has invested in a Smart Corridor system consisting of 133 advanced signs, cameras, and sensors to improve traffic flow on the I-80 road. Seattle has already launched a High-Performance Building program aimed at reducing energy consumption by analyzing data in real-time.
Globally, large cities could save $800 billion annually by simply installing smart transport systems. Big data analytics and IoT could also help firefighters, police, infrastructure planners, and emergency responders improve service delivery.