You know technological advances transformed the world we live in.
It’s easy for consumers to keep up with the latest items that come on the market by simply purchasing a new gadget. They improve lifestyles and help people become more effective.
Are cities able to make use of modern technology too? If they don’t, they risk losing out:
- People may find the urban environment incompatible and move to more modern areas
- Cities don’t draw the benefits of modern technology, becoming obsolete and inefficient
Smart Cities know how to harness the power of intelligent technology and sustainable practices. What’s more, they are poised to create sustainable urban landscapes. Does this seem too complicated?
It’s actually very exciting!
What is a Smart City?
The Concept of Smart City is to implement technological solutions to their benefit:
- Information is used to manage assets better
- Communication systems are used to interact with citizens more
- Technology is used to measure how successful the city functions
Drawing feedback from all these sources means governments and municipalities can make decisions faster, based on updated and reliable information. Intelligent technology helps officials run a more effective city. Check out how much the City of Barcelona saved with the Smart City Concept and IoT.
What is a Sustainable Urban Landscape?
How do you ensure the city you build today will still be able to exist far into the future?
Climate change and environmental concerns have made the world aware that nature’s resources won’t last forever. We need to find ways of using energy and natural resources wisely.
Your financial resources won’t last forever either. You always have to look for ways to save money and become more productive. High energy cost is a major concern when you think of how your city will sustain itself in the future, right? Are there ways to combat these challenges? No, you will not solve the problem by just creating more parks. These may require too much water, labor and space.
A sustainable urban landscape implements methods that are beneficial to the environment and cost efficient in the long term. It’s supposed to benefit the citizens, the environment, public budgeting and urban design implementation plans.
How do These Concepts Apply to City Services?
Now, imagine when these approaches are combined. A city will be effective now while it’s set up for future sustainability.
Who will facilitate positive environmental objectives if cities don’t? You may think that modern technology makes it more difficult. On the contrary, the technology used in Smart Cities makes it actually much easier to implement systems that benefit the environment.
Of course, cities are meant to serve citizens first and foremost. However, you don’t have to let your quality of service fall simply to help the environment and become sustainable. In fact, you can improve both the quality of life, public services and the environment. Best of all, it won’t cost you more to look after the environment and your citizens’ future. It’s going to save you money in the long run!
Where can you implement these smart city concepts?
What bothers your citizens the most? Traffic jams perhaps?
Smart Cities implement a variety of systems such as:
- Wi-Fi enabled parking systems: Drivers can look online for parking, book and pay. It’s supported by a Wi-Fi system that stretches across the city, usually embedded in smart LED street lights. When people know exactly where they’re going, they don’t waste fuel and they don’t create traffic problems.
- Public transport options: You can book bicycles, car pooling or bus tickets online. The systems give updated information of what’s available. Users can access the information via their Smartphones. This minimizes congestion and with fewer cars on the road, there are less CO2 emissions.
- Using Big Data for Urban Design and Planning: Cities can draw feedback from Big Data gathered through various ways as part of the Smart City Concept (outdoor sensors - environmnet, traffic, parking, movement etc., wi-fi platforms, Big Data City Wide platforms). By knowing where most congestion takes place and gatherig chunks of data every day, officials can implement improved short and long term urban design plans.
Don’t you want to live in such a city?
You probably think technology can’t help with discarding waste.
Smart Cities are all about gathering information. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags on dustbins provide cities and municipalities with information on the locations where waste is produced or thrown away. Such system enables effective plans to be put in place answering key questions, such as:
- Where should collection points be placed?
- Which community needs more education on waste management?
This is only one way technology can be applied. Smart Cities are still exploring options and new ways of using technology to improve waste management are implemented every day.
One area where a lot of success is seen is with energy saving/energy management systems.
The goal would be to either use less energy or install off-grid systems. The most practical way of doing this on a large scale is to install solar LED street lighting:
- The LED street lights draw less energy than normal globes.
- A further improvement will be solar usage. Smart solar street lights draw power from the sun instead of using the city’s grid. Power is stored in solar batteries to be used at night.
- Smart Solar LED lights can dim when not used and brighten upon a car or person’s approach. Because of Smart technology energy management is maximized.
- Remote management systems alert officials when Smart solar LED lights malfunction. This reduces expenses for maintenance teams and the system is kept in working order at all times. A Smart City is focused on being as energy efficient as possible.
Such approach demonstrates an effective energy management that benefits the citizens and the environment, since clean energy is fully utilized, making it a viable long term plan.
Of course, implementing a new system is costly. But, because Smart solar street lights don’t have to be connected to the central power system, labor and installation costs are low. The money you save on lower maintenance and zero electricity bills in the long-term also contributes to covering the initial investment.
The Smart street light poles mentioned above are also central to other technological features of a Smart City. We already mentioned many of them, such as traffic information.
These systems rely on interaction with citizens and their mobile devices. However, to be able to make an impact you need a well developed infrastructure. Wi-Fi sources and the necessary technological devices can be placed inside solar outdoor lighting poles. Now, citizens have access to the city’s information wherever they are. Officials can ask for and gather information to improve services continuously.
So, it’s possible to match improved service delivery with more sustainability. That’s what Smart Cities are all about. It’s looking after people and the environment they have to live in. Which one of these is your motivation for implementing Smart City concepts in your area? Check out how you can do this with smart solar street lighting by downloading our Ultimate Guide for Sola Street Lights.