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Connect-World’s eFlyer – 16th Feb 2018
A smart city is an urban environment that utilises a variety of electronic data collection sensors to provide information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. It includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analysed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. Smart Cities draw on information and communication technology (ICT), and the emerging network the Internet of things (IoT), to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. The overarching mission of a smart city is to optimize city functions and drive economic growth while improving quality of life for its citizens using smart technology and data analysis.
Other terms that have been used for similar concepts include: Cyberville, digital city, electronic communities, flexicity, information city, intelligent city, knowledge-based city, MESH city, telecity, teletopia, ubiquitous city, wired city.
ICT technology is used to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to increase contact between citizens and government. Smart city applications are developed to manage urban flows and allow for real-time responses. A smart city is therefore in a position to directly respond to challenges than one with a simple “transactional” relationship with its citizens.
Smart city technology is also increasingly being used to improve public safety, from monitoring areas of high crime to improving emergency preparedness with sensors. For example, smart sensors can be critical components of an early warning system before droughts, floods, landslides or hurricanes.
Major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, the move to online retail and entertainment, ageing populations, urban population growth and pressures on public finances. The European Union (EU) has devoted constant efforts to devising a strategy for achieving ‘smart’ urban growth for its metropolitan city-regions. The EU has developed a range of programmes under ‘Europe’s Digital Agenda”. In 2010, it highlighted its focus on strengthening innovation and investment in ICT services for the purpose of improving public services and quality of life. Arup estimates that the global market for smart urban services will be US$400 billion per annum by 2020. Prominent examples of Smart City technologies and programmes have been implemented in Singapore, Dubai, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, New York and Beijing which has about 500 smart city pilot projects, the highest in the world, according to Deloitte].
Often considered the gold standard of Smart Cities, the city-state of Singapore uses sensors and IoT-enabled cameras to monitor the cleanliness of public spaces, crowd density and the movement of locally registered vehicles. Its smart technologies help companies and residents monitor energy use, waste production and water use in real time. Singapore is also testing autonomous vehicles, including full-size robotic buses, as well as an elderly monitoring system to ensure the health and well-being of its senior citizens.
In spite of the great benefits of smart cities, critics worry that city managers will not keep data privacy and security top of mind, fearing the exposure of the data that citizens produce on a daily basis to the risk of hacking or misuse. Additionally, the presence of sensors and cameras may be perceived as an invasion of privacy or government surveillance. To address this, smart city data collected should be anonymized and not be personally identifiable information.
Thus, while, many different IoT devices are catching on with consumers, from smart watches to connected cars, consumers are uneasy about being watched, listened to, or tracked by devices they place in their homes. Thanks to such discomfort, consumer interest in connected home technology lags behind their interest in other types of IoT devices, Deloitte found.
Cities and communities generate data through a vast and growing network of connected technologies that power new and innovative services ranging from apps that can help drivers find parking spots to sensors that can improve water quality. Such services improve individual lives and make cities more efficient. While smart city technologies can raise privacy issues, sophisticated data privacy programs can mitigate these concerns while preserving the benefits of cities that are cleaner, faster, safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.