Smart city

The smart city (smart cities) is one that uses the potential of technology and innovation, along with other resources, to more efficiently promote sustainable development and, ultimately, improve the quality of life of its citizens.

Smart city

The idea is that smart cities are not merely a political tool, but tangible facts. It is in everyone’s hands to actively collaborate so that our cities are sustainable for new generations and, together, we improve our quality of life. And if we want to be more futuristic, we invite you to review the following note: This is how Samsung has raised what cities will be like in 200 years.

Advantages of smart cities

The internet of things (IoT), big data, mobile applications, industry 4.0, among others, are managing to improve the efficiency of cities, if we know how to use it intelligently. In this sense, a city can manage technology to improve people’s lives and more specifically, to achieve benefits such as:

  • Contribute to the improvement of the environment.
  • Save costs for its citizens.
  • Optimize public services.
  • Improve transparency in the management of administrations.
  • Manage to retain companies and attract talent.
  • Improve communication with citizens.

Requirements to be a smart city

For any municipality to be considered a smart city, it must meet these conditions:

  • Sustainable and harmonious economic, social and environmental development
  • Optimal management of natural resources through citizen participation.
  • Citizens and institutions committed to the city.
  • Infrastructures and institutions equipped with technological solutions to make the lives of citizens easier

But the key piece for the functioning of a smart city is citizen participation. If citizens do not actively contribute to the use and promotion of these alternatives, the objectives set in their implementation will not be achieved. Information, training and dissemination to citizens by public administrations is essential.

Scope of application

The application sectors of smart cities are very broad. Thus, we highlight:

  • The environment : Systems that allow energy savings, efficient water consumption, promote recycling, reduce the emission of harmful gases, promote the use of public and private electric vehicles (eMobility), etc.
  • Health : Telemedicine, tele-assistance, data management and patient records, alerts the emergency services automatically when an elderly or disabled person has fallen or has deviated from their route, among others.
  • Urban planning : Efficient traffic management, optimization of public transport routes, sustainable infrastructures (smart buinding), new public lighting systems with LED technologies and adaptations of consumption, automatic and intelligent irrigation of gardens, and others.
  • Administration and government : Electronic administration system, online payment platforms, iCloud environments, broadband for mobile phones and free public Wi-Fi (the challenge of the EU for 2020).
  • Security : As an example, we have the CISEM (Integrated Center for Security and Emergencies) in Madrid that coordinates the Samur corps and the police, reducing response times by 8 minutes.
  • Tourism and leisure : Applications to facilitate tourist visits, such as leisure and consumption guides to find shopping places and restaurants. Thus, the results could be adapted to the particular interests of each individual.

Sensors that measure and control activity in cities

Most of the smart city applications are governed by a control of sensors enabled by the cities to perform data measurements. Thanks to big data, large databases can be crossed and managed, predictive models developed, etc. They are called smart sensors , and they serve multiple applications like the ones we have seen.

Some of the parameters that these sensors measure are: radiation levels, detection of Wi-Fi or bluetooth signals, measurement of decibel levels, intelligent control of the expiration dates of products and their properties, control of the purchases of each citizen to offer you interesting information, sensors in the car parks that detect whether they are free or not, among others.

Examples of smart cities

Throughout the world, in almost all the most developed countries, there are city projects that aspire in one way or another to become a smart city in their own way. The ultimate goal of the smart city stream is to fully adopt all initiatives, although the process in general involves first implementing some, and then others.

  • Malaga. With the emergence of the Andalusian Technology Park (PTA) and the energy project of the ENEL company, the city in the south of Spain is a true laboratory at a technological level, but above all energy. The key to becoming a true smart city are the energy processes of the city, specifically, that coming from electric power.
  • Singapore. In this case, the Asian city-state is one of the most influential technological poles in the world. In their way of implementing intelligent solutions in matters of traffic and video surveillance, they are pioneers.
  • Montevideo. The capital of Uruguay is the city with the highest quality of life in all of Latin America, being a pioneer in modernization plans and redistribution of resources. In addition, in recent years it has become a true digital focus of the area. Thus, its strategy to become a smart city involves developing several initiatives simultaneously.
  • Copenhagen. Denmark has been among the most sustainable countries in the world for years, being a benchmark in sustainable development policies, among others. Therefore, it is not surprising that the capital is considered one of the cities that respects and encourages the environment the most, being one more way of being a smart city .

In addition to the prominent cities, the already well-known London, New York, Seoul or Barcelona are smart cities that continue to promote this trend of sustainability and efficiency. Other cities such as Nairobi (Kenya), Doha (Qatar), or Brisbane (Australia), are cities with great potential that are on the way to implement certain initiatives with the goal of being smart cities in the medium term.