Smart Cities: IoT On a Grand Scale

Smart cities combine technology, government, and society to enable smart economies, mobility, a clean environment, and people living better.

The Internet of Things is not a new concept. You have probably heard of smart homes and smart cars. Well, now there are smart cities. The smart home and the smart city are two major developments in IoT technology.
Devices can communicate with one another, with people in homes and cities. In addition, they can even communicate with third parties from the outside. For example, a refrigerator automatically puts in a new order to a grocery store when important items like eggs, butter, or milk run low.
However, there are other applications for this technology that take us beyond our homes and into the community at large. Therefore, let’s take a quick look toward the future.

IoT in General

While you’ve definitely heard of the Internet of Things, what exactly is it?
You’re probably thinking of a lot of items that connect to your network. However, do we really understand what the basic concept of IoT is? In fact, no universally accepted definition of the Internet of Things exists.
However, Forbes offers one of the better definitions of IoT.  They say it is the concept of linking any device with an on or off switch to the Internet and to each other. Therefore, coffeemakers, cellphones, headphones, washing machines, lamps, wearable devices, and almost any other gadget would come under this category. This also applies to mechanical components, such as an oil rig drill in an oil field or a jet engine in an airplane.
As a result, the Internet of Things isn’t so much a thing as it is a formula with a process. It’s more of an idea of connection…and one that’s a little hazy at that.

Smart Cities: An Overview

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association has a pretty clear definition of a smart city.
They say that the world’s population is continuing to rise. Therefore the overall population is predicted to double by 2050. As a result, there is a rising demand for intelligent, sustainable settings that reduce environmental impact. At the same time, there is a need to provide inhabitants with a high-quality existence.
A smart city combines technology, government, and society in one entity. This is to enable smart economies, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, and smart living. Basically it would be something like smart governance.
Obviously, this isn’t really concrete. Due to the vagueness and disparity of the concept, we must look to actual applications to identify what constitutes a smart city. This type of technology is currently being used in a variety of ways around the world. Here are some of them:

  • Sensors are installed in bridges to detect deterioration and the impact of seismic forces at work.
  • Roadway sensors detect factors such as subsidence and wear and tear, as well as traffic movement.
  • Wind sensors, foundation subsidence sensors, seismic activity sensors, and more are all integrated into buildings.
  • Sensors in the inside of buildings detect the presence of people in rooms. As a result, they are able to control the usage of lighting, heating and air conditioning, and other systems. This helps to save energy when it isn’t needed.
  • Face recognition sensors at entryways for improved security. This would help in apartment buildings, business buildings, government offices, and more.

What’s Fueling the Smart City Movement?

At first appearance, the rush toward IoT adoption appears to be purely utilitarian. In other words, it’s comparable to how smart technology is used in the house. For example, no one needs a refrigerator that can replenish groceries when the supply on hand runs out. It’s just for the sake of convenience.
A toaster with an Internet connection isn’t really necessary. It’s just for the sake of convenience. Furthermore, nobody really needs a frying pan that can connect to a smartphone app. Again, it’s purely for the sake of convenience (and not so much of that in this case).
It’s like your television remote. You’re fully capable of getting up, walking to the TV, and manually changing the station. It’s just easier to do it from the comfort of your couch.
However, the integration of smart technology into city infrastructure does not follow the same logic.
It’s more about attaining critical goals here. It’s about things such as improving infrastructure’s use life and management. In addition, it’s about strengthening resident safety. Furthermore, it’s more about reducing costs and energy usage to be more environmentally friendly.
In order to truly comprehend the emergence of smart cities, we must examine some of the factors that have influenced their adoption.

Maintenance and Management of Infrastructure in Smart Cities

Infrastructure in many places throughout the world is deteriorating. The state of the roads is deteriorating. Train tracks are deteriorating. Overpasses and bridges are deteriorating and becoming dangerous.
Therefore, sensors embedded in these places using IoT technology can identify a variety of things. They would be able to detect things such as the level of degradation and daily traffic flow increases.


As the idea of smart cities becomes more common, the quality of city life will improve. IoT technology has the potential to make a big difference in the cities that use it. It may be that the day will come when cities will not function without it.

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