Smart City

In order to increase the livability of cities worldwide and realize climate change, cities need to get smarter. With the use of data, connectivity, IoT, AI, and more, cities are poised to create places that are great to visit and reside in.

Smart cities are here to stay.


What is a smart city?

According to the European Commission, the definition of a smart city is:

A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital solutions for the benefit of its inhabitants and business.
— European Commission

Smart city examples

Cities all over the world are getting technology and liveability upgrades. As the list of smart cities grows, so does the competition for the best technological solutions. Here are great examples of smart cities today:

  • Singapore

Smart Nation and Digital Government Singapore has been pushing the smart city boundary for several years. Right now they are focused on smart mobility and digital government solutions.

  • London

Smart London is lead by their progressive Chief Digital Officer. Some initiatives include 5G connective throughout and smart lampposts to name a few.

Smart city technology

A smart city goes beyond the use of digital technologies for better resource use and less emissions. It means smarter urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities and more efficient ways to light and heat buildings. It also means a more interactive and responsive city administration, safer public spaces and meeting the needs of an ageing population.

The number of technologies available to make cities smarter is almost endless and the list grows every year with new innovations. There are some core categories to look at when planning a smarter city.

  • Advanced traffic technology

    • From autonomous vehicles, EV charging bays, smart parking sensors and guidance to predictive traffic light heatmaps

  • Smarter energy use systems

Data and smart cities

Without data, a smart city is only a dream. But does collecting large amounts of public data come with a price?


Why is a smart city necessary?

It’s clear, there are pros and cons to the development of smart cities. Some would argue that we have no choice but to make cities smarter.

Smart city projects

Smart city concepts and projects are being deployed around the world to great affect. The sky is the limit as to what solutions and benefits can help the city and its residents work better. Typical smart city projects begin as a small scope pilot project to test the technology and results. A positive assessment results in a public tender which allows competition to provide the best solution for the city.

A major challenge faced by smart cities is integrating data to provide a more holistic approach to the city as a whole. Individual smart city projects need to consider other data sources as a requirement for success.

Digital twin city model

Only with a digital twin in place, can government agencies effectively analyze what can be done with the data and improve citizen living, create economic opportunity and revitalize a closer community.
— Thomas Pramotedham, CEO of Esri Singapore

IoT and smart city

As of now, IoT is the pivotal technology used for almost all smart city devices and solutions. Without IoT, data cannot be collected and presented in the various ways needed for the city. IoT enables smart city sensors for lighting control, water and waste management, sound and air quality sensors, parking management and way-finding - the list goes on. IoT allows real-time data from buildings, streets and infrastructure to be actionable and beneficial for all involved.