Articles

The Connected Reality of a Smart City

Update: The American Public Power Association (APPA) has released a SmartCity Roadmap for cities interested in the Smart Cities system.

Originally posted by Saeid Malaki | Mass Transit | December 17, 2018 | Original Article

As Smart Cities are growing to be more common, the use of the IoT has allowed cities to operate in a more efficient manner.

In Smart Cities, technologies combine in smart grids and collaboratively analyze data to improve critical functions of a city such as transportation, energy use, sanitation, public safety and more.

Every day “Space Age” conveniences from mobile video calling to robotic cleaning devices prove that smart technologies are now common utilities, with growing demand and applications. The next leap is to leverage the data smart devices collect to create Smart Cities, the hot topic among politicians and urban planners.

A Smart City is a large-scale example of applying Internet of Things (IoT) concepts into a practical, socially dynamic application. It is the intersection of data, devices, and connectivity so that the data collected by devices, transmitted by communications networks, and processed in data centers is effectively analyzed and leveraged to improve the functionality and efficiency of city services. In Smart Cities, technologies combine in smart grids and collaboratively analyze data to improve critical functions of a city such as transportation, energy use, sanitation, public safety and more.

As Smart City development is under mass exploration in cities throughout the United States, it has already been thriving across the Atlantic. From Trondheim, Norway’s “Smartest City,” to SmartSantander in Spain, to Smart Nation Singapore, cities are building up networks of sensors that monitor almost everything that impacts public life. Sensors track everything from air pollution levels, open parking spaces to even the level of trash in garbage cans. Cities then link their operational systems to these data points to deliver solutions that range from real-time automated traffic adjustments to reduce delays to automated water meter reading.

Connecting the Smart City

Building a Smart City starts with the development of a Connected City, where a robust communications network is built throughout the city’s footprint. Without the connectivity for devices transmitting data to and from the city’s systems, a Smart City cannot exist.

Most Connected Cities (and, by extension, Smart Cities) are not built from the ground up. The majority of cities were designed decades, even centuries ago, when no one could envision the technology we have today. This creates unique design and deployment challenges for the equipment and smart system requirements. To deliver the necessary solutions to first connect and then expand city system management, engineers must think critically and creatively to implement connectivity technologies within existing municipal infrastructures. Each component presents its own challenges in Connected City development, including equipment placement; integrity and environmental sensitivities; city codes and regulations; and installation and maintenance labor costs.

Connectivity technologies take many forms, such as: high-speed fiber optic networks, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells. These technologies rely on key enablers like radio frequency spectrum that carry data from points A to B. The right solution is based on the city’s objectives and end goals of their smart services. Once completed, these solutions deliver everything from public Wi-Fi and cellular coverage, to dedicated public safety bands and IOT-based technologies. The next step is the Smart City implementation, with hyperlocal data sensors and functional algorithms that run on a Connected City network.

Read the full article on Mass Transit.