Certainly, every single form of investment has a purpose behind it. In most cases, this could be seen through initiatives anchored on social impact, non-profit engagements and pure profit making. At other times, all these could be combined in a single initiative.
Practically, most smart city projects and investments belong to either of these types of initiatives described above. For one thing, the people that bring the ideas and visions of these projects are often driven by different motives.
Looking at European countries for instance, there are some emerging smart cities that many people often point to.
Now, whether you want to get involved through government, non-profit organization or a corporation, we’ll be looking into why European city authorities are investing in smart city technology. Probably, the idea of a smartphone and the complex capabilities it now posses will give you a glimpse into what could be possible with smart cities. One thing worthy of note is that it is all based on technology.
What Is Smart City Anyway?
An urban area that utilizes data collection sensors and other technology stacks to collect and share data that enables progressive improvement of living conditions. Central to all smart city projects is this form of tech stack common referred to as ‘internet of things (IoT). On the other hand, this one refers to seamless interconnection of computerized devices used in varying facets of life.
Examples of Smart City Technology
Regardless of the background, you want to come in from, an increased understanding of smart city technology will give you clear vision of the opportunities that lie ahead. The core technology stacks aside, everything about this emerging transformation of cities revolve around the collection, storage, analysis and shared access to big data. Here are some of the major examples.
5G Network Technology – While a great percentage of the global population are yet to have dependable access to 4g, 5g remains the next frontier for visionaries and people leading most smart city projects. This is very important because of the capacity to handle robust interconnection of city infrastructures, utilities and terminals for a growing population. According to many experts found through our research, many other smart city technologies hardly work without a robust 5g connection. This is the backbone of that expected massive transformation of cities across the world.
Geospatial Technology – In order to get the best transformative results, smart city projects requires intelligent utilization of accurate location and population data. In practical terms, this forms the foundation for other creatives and visionaries to bring useful solutions that improve human life the city centers. Examples under this subcategory include the tech possibilities available with Google Maps, MapBox, Foursquare and many others.
Internet of Things (IoT) – On top of the 5g network technology mentioned above, internet of things is what keeps a growing an array of devices and city infrastructures connected. From homes to health, fitness, food, automobile and public utilities, a whole of things (Dots) can be connected to unfold even great possibilities.
Sensors – The entire IoT ecosystem is made up of smart devices that are connected to each other. Interesting examples here are smart home, connected cars, smart watch and traffic lights. And in that same perspective, 24/7 connected smartphones make useful data access readily available to citizens wherever they may be.
Artificial Intelligence – In today’s modern world, every discussion of a smart city without artificial intelligence is certainly incomplete. While it is not the be-all end-all component, AI plays a significant role in making optimal use of available use of infrastructures and resources within the smart cities of tomorrow.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, other things like robotics, virtual reality and blockchain technology also come to mind. All these things represent the diversity of opportunities that city authorities, corporation and individual experts can take to get involved. Now let’s look at some European cities leveraging these technologies to build smart cities of the future.
Why Invest In Smart City Technology
- Improvement of living standards – This seems to be the core of all smart city technology investments. However, it happens in different contexts. For example, the City of Newcastle in the UK invested in installation of 600 urban observatory sensors. This is to provide an interface for interconnection of IoT devices within the city. And their overall aim is to improve standard of living as well make the city competitively attractive for top talent in different fields of endeavor. As at the time of this writing, they now over 1 billion observatory datasets.
- Energy transformation – Across the world, there is a common belief that better sources of energy will improve both human life and the atmosphere. In Hamburg for instance, Germany’s second largest city with a population of 1.8 million people, ecology and economy go hand in hand. Consequently, proactive leverage on smart green technologies is yielding results like transformation of a waste dump into a center that delivers solar and wind energy to 4,000 homes. Projects like this earned Hamburg, a reputation and award as the ‘European Green Capital’.
- Decongesting Traffic – Obviously, there is no doubt the proactively decongesting traffic along city roads could result in better life for everyone. And people are thinking in that line. In Paris, France some people invented Velib, a self-service bike sharing network. From our research findings, the 20,000+ bikes registered in the system across 1,229 bike stations resulted in 5% reduction in traffic within the city. And there is an indication the same concept has moved to cars with Autolib.
For a moment, think of what smart geospatial technologies can do in a system like this.
Beyond the scope of this article, there are many more reasons why European cities are investing in smart city technologies. And the benefits look promising in all dimensions. Interestingly, there is a possibility that even interesting number of European cities are making similar commitments.
In the end, it is worth noting that all these are driven by ideas from people like you and I.