About twenty-five years ago, I was involved with a major project associated with Smart Homes and my associates reminded me that within the coming decades we would witness the unfolding of smart cities, this time is here and now. I remember thinking how advanced technology has progressed, to control the temperatures, appliances and entire environment of ones homes and now the monitoring of cities and communities.

As part of our quest to find out what makes cities smart, we throw a spotlight on infrastructure: How can information technology and urban planning help to make us more flexible and mobile? At the same time, mobility is just one aspect of a wide spectrum of complex networks that govern life in an urban context.

When I think of smart cities, I think of intelligence that can be manipulated, violating the privacy of citizens while monitoring their every move.

What is the meaning of “SMART CITIES”? A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate information and communication technology and Internet of things technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets. These assets include local departments’ information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. A smart city is promoted to use urban technology to improve the efficiency of services. ICT allows city officials to interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life. Through the use of sensors integrated with real-time monitoring systems, data is collected from citizens and devices – then processed and analyzed. The information and knowledge gathered are keys to tackling inefficiency.

Smart city – Wikipedia: Smart city technology is increasingly being used to improve public safety, from monitoring areas of high crime to improving emergency preparedness with sensors. For example, smart sensors can be critical components of an early warning system before droughts, floods, landslides or hurricanes.

Smart buildings are also often part of a smart city project. Legacy infrastructure can be retrofitted and new buildings constructed with sensors to not only provide real-time space management and ensure public safety, but also to monitor the structural health of buildings. Attaching sensors to buildings and other structures can detect wear and tear and notify officials when repairs are needed. Citizens can help in this matter, notifying officials through a smart city app when repairs are needed in buildings and public infrastructure, such as potholes. Sensors can also be used to detect leaks in water mains and other pipe systems, helping reduce costs and improve efficiency of public workers.

Smart city technologies also bring efficiencies to urban manufacturing and urban farming, including job creation, energy efficiency, space management and fresher goods for consumers.

Smart cities foster sustainability

Sustainability is another major facet of smart cities. Urbanization is expected to increase even more in the coming years — today, 80% of the U.S. population lives in metropolitan areas versus 60% just 50 years ago. Smart technology will help cities sustain growth and improve efficiency for citizen welfare and government efficiency in urban areas in the years to come.

Water meters and manhole covers are just a couple of the other city components monitored by smart sensors. Free and/or publically available Wi-Fi is another perk smart cities often include.

Smart city challenges and concerns

Smart city initiatives must include the people it aims to help: its residents, business people and visitors. City leaders must not only raise awareness of the benefits of the smart city technologies being implemented, but also promote the use of open, democratized data to its citizens. If people know what they are participating in and the benefits it can bring, they are more likely to engage.

Fostering collaboration between the public and private sector and city residents is key to creating a smart citizen who will be engaged and empowered and positively contribute to the city and community. New and innovative collaboration methods can improve engagement. Smart city projects should include plans to make the data transparent and available to citizens, often through an open data portal or mobile app. This enables residents to engage with the data and understand what it is used for. Through a smart city app, residents may also be able to complete personal chores, such as viewing their home’s energy consumption, paying bills and finding efficient public transportation.

Smart city opponents worry that city managers will not keep data-privacy and security top of mind, fearing the exposure of the data that citizens produce on a daily basis to the risk of hacking or misuse. Additionally, the presence of sensors and cameras may be perceived as an invasion of privacy or government surveillance. To address this, smart city data collected should be anonymized and not be personally identifiable information.

Examples of smart cities

The smart city initiative of Kansas City, Mo., involves smart streetlights, interactive kiosks and more than 50 blocks of free public Wi-Fi along the city’s two-mile streetcar route. Available parking spaces, traffic flow and pedestrian hotspots are all publically available through the city’s data visualization app.

What are the top 10 Smart Cities in the  World Today?

  1. Vienna Austria
  2. Toronto Canada
  3. Paris France
  4. NY NY
  5. London
  6. Tokyo
  7. Berlin
  8. Copenhagen
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Barcelona Spain

Other Smart Cities

San Diego installed 3,200 smart sensors in early 2017 to optimize traffic and parking and enhance public safety, environmental awareness and overall livability for its residents. Solar-to-electric charging stations are available to empower electric vehicle use, and connected cameras help monitor traffic and pinpoint crime.

Often considered the gold standard of smart cities, the city-state of Singapore uses sensors and IoT-enabled cameras to monitor the cleanliness of public spaces, crowd density and the movement of locally registered vehicles. It’s smart technologies help companies and residents monitor energy use, waste production and water use in real time. Singapore is also testing autonomous vehicles, including full-size robotic buses, as well as an elderly monitoring system to ensure the health and well-being of its senior citizens.

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, smart city technology is used for traffic routing, parking, infrastructure planning and transportation. The city also uses telemedecine and smart healthcare, as well as smart buildings, smart utilities, smart education and smart tourism.

The Barcelona, Spain, smart transportation system and smart bus systems are complemented by smart bus stops that provide free Wi-Fi, USB charging stations and bus schedule updates for riders. A bike-sharing program and smart parking app that includes online payment options are also available. The city also uses sensors to monitor temperature, pollution and noise, as well as monitor humidity and rain levels.

More and more devices are plugging into your government’s corner of the Internet of Things (IoT), but are we truly implementing the right projects in ‘smart’ ways?

HOW CAN INTELLIGENT INFRASTRUCTURE HELP A CITY GROW?

A healthy city is like a healthy body: a complex system of moving parts that need to work together. Current’s smart energy and data solutions enable that system to not only function, but flourish. That’s how the cities of tomorrow can transform the ways people live, work and play today.

Little things make a big difference in peoples’ everyday lives. Like public Wi-Fi on every street corner. Convenient electric vehicle charging stations with built-in solar panels. Mobile apps that instantly find the next bus or nearest parking spot. We connect cities with the digital infrastructure that makes better living a reality.

A smarter system

How do we bring this infrastructure to life, so that it works for the city as well as its citizens? We install low-impact LED streetlights throughout the municipal grid to help cities improve energy efficiency—and can also equip them with intelligent nodes that see, hear and feel the environment around them.

The data our intelligent nodes collect can be used to keep the city running smoothly, from easing traffic congestion to plowing snow faster. And as the city’s needs evolve, the lights can be easily updated with new intelligent nodes.

ANNUAL SAVINGS CITIES WILL SEE BY 2019, BY INSTALLING SMART STREET LIGHTS AND DEVICES 17 Billion dollars

Planning for tomorrow

Urban populations produce massive amounts of data, and our cloud-based IoT platform can handle the load. Our data is open, which means the Intelligent Cities APIs can operate with any system your city uses. That helps municipal departments share data on a citywide scale, so they can work together to better respond to issues.

Use our data to plan for the future, whether that means revitalizing neighborhoods or attracting tech investors. Together, we can make your city a vibrant place that new residents and businesses alike call home.

60 % of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050 and this is how it will transform:

Solar Solution- Gain energy independence by generating lower-cost, renewable solar energy for your city.

LED Lighting- LED streetlights provide lower-cost, environmentally friendly lighting for pedestrians—and can be integrated with an array of intelligent hardware.

Intelligent Endpoints- Streetlight fixtures can be equipped with energy load controls, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, security cameras, sensors that monitor motion, sound and atmospheric changes and more.

Unleashed by Developers- Empower application developers with ubiquitous real-time data from CityIQ™ IoT Platform to improve citizens’ quality of life.

Partnerships- Partner with vendors and developers on software applications that use our data for everything from real-time transit trackers to public safety alerts.

“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master” Christian Lous Lange

Smart cities have been introduced in different cities world widely. Although smart cities benefits the society, environment and economy, yet it was argued that there are some disadvantages. These advantages and disadvantages are listed below:

Advantages:

  • Improving a strategy for the long-term
  • Improving the infrastructure
  • Social development -Protecting citizens safety

For example: the assisted living technology which allow elderly individuals live independently and improve their living standards.

  • Economic development
  • Environmental benefit (Smart energy management)

For example: smart meters, smart appliances to help companies and households to improve services and manage energy usage.

  • Economic Sustainability

For instance: minimizing energy consuming and also minimizing CO2 emissions

Disadvantages:

  • Until now intelligent technology is in its pre-commercial level
  • Creates social risks

For example: elder individuals have a limited access to broadband due to the lack of skills. In addition, Individuals might lack information on how to use some technologies such as: smart meters

Another need for building smart cities is the increase in greenhouse gases dues to human activities around the world as, “every country around the world emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, meaning the root cause of climate change is truly global in scope” (EPA, 2014), this will cause major health risks within crowded cities.

Economic climate is placing governments under huge pressures. They have facing difficulty in reacting to the demands with huge increases of the urban population. By building Smart Cities governments will be given control over these issues and will be able to react quicker to people’s needs. Thus, would lead to a higher quality of living.

Is a massive surveillance necessary to combat terrorism
or is it a guise for a more sinister agenda?

A smart city is, inherently, a surveillance city, and citizens’ privacy could potentially be the cost of the efficiency gains.

Could it be worth the trade-off?

A mass of sensors and systems monitor a city’s infrastructure, operations and activities and aim to help it run more efficiently. For example, the city could use less electricity; its traffic run more smoothly with fewer delays; its citizens use the city with more safety; hazards can be dealt with faster; citizen infractions of rules can be prevented, and the city’s infrastructure; power distribution and roads with traffic lights for example, dynamically adjusted to respond to differing circumstances.

These things are good for system administrators in their work and good in the generality, for citizens, who should see their city working better for them.

“It is appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Albert  Eeinstein

Resources:

http://www.ledinside.com/news/2017/9/philips_lighting_and_american_tower_corporation

https://www.cbinsights.com/research/iot-smart-cities-market-map-company-list/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6l0wLG7c9I&list=PL8xlS4-wDKPoiXGcagIYK-1KtGKYf8yTH

http://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/smart-city

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAjznAJe5uQ

https://www.abiresearch.com/market-research/product/1028101-industry-survey-transformative-technology-/

http://hpc-asia.com/smart-cities-invasion-of-privacy/

http://www.businessinsider.com/internet-of-things-smart-cities-2016-10

Susan Price is a National Gold Star Mother and resides in the Suburban Western New York area. The daughter of a Marine, and Army Veteran, She is also the Mother of a Fallen American Hero, Gunnery Sgt, Aaron Michael Kenefick a highly decorated and stellar Marine of over twelve years. The tragic loss of Susan’s son and his Marine Embedded Training Team, raised more questions than answers. It was through a Mother’s undying love, that Susan transformed into an Investigative Researcher, and through her countless hours, days, weeks and years connecting the dots, factual documentation, eyewitness accounts and more, emerged a back story to the crimes that took place on the battlefield that fateful day of September 8th 2009.

Susan is also known as a Veterans Advocate and a National voice. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, and other national media as well as and Patriot radio. Having worked with various Congressmen concerning our Military and Veterans, she has been sought out by many as the “the Gold Star Mother with a voice” – and “go to person”.