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Smart City: Urban technology

For some time now, people have been talking about the concept of Smart City or intelligent city, i.e., an application of the IoT (Internet of Things). It is a concept that goes far beyond mere technological innovations as it encompasses a new way of looking at urban reality focused on well-being and efficiency.

 

What is a Smart City

A Smart City is an urban area where the use of digital technologies and technological innovation helps optimizing and improving infrastructure and services to citizens, and makes them more efficient by managing resources intelligently. Smart Cities aim at becoming economically sustainable and energy self-sufficient, while remaining attentive to the citizens’ quality of life, thus representing important engines for a country’s economy.

 

 

How does a Smart City work

Due to the high level of connectivity and the many sensors in the city, massive amounts of data are collected. Data that can feed more advanced and real-time services as well as allow administrations to manage everything more efficiently. Roads are traversed by electric and self-driving cars, intersections are regulated by smart traffic lights and objects exchange information with each other.

 

Why progress towards a ‘Smart City’?

To answer this question, here there’s a list of some of the main characteristics of a Smart City:

  • A safer city. The use of video surveillance and other innovative technologies allows for greater control of different urban areas and minimizes criminal offenses.
  • A more sustainable city. New technologies, used correctly, can become a valuable tool for reducing pollution and CO2 emissions, while increasing energy efficiency results through the use of renewable sources in an integrated way.
  • Optimized services and infrastructure. A Smart City can offer a better public transport service and better infrastructure, e.g. an adaptive public lighting system. It can also better monitor difficult situations, such as buildings with structural problems or bridges and roads that need to be maintained.
  • A more connected and digital city. Through the continuous disposal of the collected ‘big data’, Smart Cities are definitely more connected. Intelligent cities are able to create a digital environment for their citizens where wi-fi is accessible throughout the area.
  • More job opportunities. Investing in Smart City technologies can have a multiplier effect on businesses and workers. The adoption of smart systems helps decreasing the need for manual labor and pushes the use of human resources towards more strategic initiatives.
  • A cheaper city. A Smart City cuts costs and has a significant return on investment calculated in a few years.

 

 

In brief, a Smart City offers many benefits to its citizens.
In addition to the above-mentioned assets, time savings is worth mentioning. Indeed, a Smart City disposes of more efficient communication systems, reducing endless waiting times in citizens’ interactions with the public administration or the healthcare system (e-Gov), reduces traffic congestion and makes it easier to find parking spaces (traffic monitoring and smart parking).

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