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Smart Cities For the world of tomorrow

Cities are now becoming more flexible, more accessible, and are also contributing to the greater economic growth of their respective regions. Geoff Zeiss – Editor, Building and Energy, Geospatial World, deciphers the purpose and the vision behind smart cities that are now mushrooming across the world

Urbanisation is a worldwide phenomenon that is closely linked to economic development. Statistics suggest that by 2030, about 60 % of the world’s population will live in cities. China’s rapid economic growth is led by the continued growth of its megacities and the development of new ones. India’s urbanisation, however, is still in nascent stage. In Latin America, larger cities are being replaced by rapidly growing middle-sized cities.

  • Urbanisation and its challenges : The growing ecological crisis, associated with global urbanisation, has led to new environmental regulations.To address the issues arising from urbanisation, world leaders embraced the concept called smart city.
  • Smart cities: smart future : Smart cities are already being developed across the globe, and are coming up in a big way in South Asia. The new Indian government has announced the development of 100 smart cities in the country
    while Songdo IDB in Korea and Fujisawa in Japan are already under development. China too has about 36 smart cities coming up along with a low carbon model city in Tianjin. Singapore, however, plans to become the first smart
    nation. And Iskandar is Malaysia’s first smart city. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) also incorporates smart city concepts.
  • Internet of Things : A study by Cisco of the Internet of Things (IoT) estimates that it represents a $19 trillion global opportunity over the next decade. Of that $4.6 trillion is available to public-sector organisations through cost savings,increased productivity, new revenues and improved citizen experiences. Some specific areas where Cisco sees the potential for significant benefits include smart buildings ($100 billion savings in operating costs), gas monitoring ($69 billion in savings), smart parking ($41 billion in savings), water management ($39 billion in savings), and road usage pricing ($18 billion in additional revenue).
  • Smart grid: One of the most important infrastructure networks for smart cities is the energy network, which increasingly means electric power. The challenge is federating the data from all of these devices, extracting information from it, and dispatching the information to the right control devices. Geospatial is seen as the logical technology that can provide the basis for integrating data from intelligent electronic devices such as smart meters and the information silos associated with proprietary applications
  • Standards for urban SDI : A smart city uses digital technologies to enhance performance and well-being, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.
  • Big data : ‘In-use’ data from facilities management (FM) systems, building management systems, utility networks including smart meters transportation systems, other municipal infrastructure, and other sensors including smartphones provides information on how urban assets are actually serving the needs of people and the patterns of behaviour of people using the infrastructure. A geospatial perspective enables this data to be used not only with individual buildings or infrastructure, but for a whole neighbourhood, town or city.
  • Data ethics: Some of data is public and some private. The high level of big data collection and analytics has raised questions regarding surveillance in smart cities, particularly as it relates to predictive policing.
  • In the future, the city will help you live in ityou live in it : Crowdsourcing, mobile applications,sensors and analytics on thecloud will enable cities to betterinteract with citizens. IBM foreseescities that can respond in real-time,predict problems before they occur,and deliver tailored services. By2017, the number of smartphonesin the world is expected to top threebillion. These devices will provideaccess to city services, but also allowthe city to collect data anonymouslyto look for patterns that willhelp identify potential problems such as traffic jams.
  • The road ahead : The rise of new Internet technologiesincluding the Internet of Things(IoT), smartphones and smart meters,networks of sensors and RFIDs,and more accurate communicationbased on the semantic web, opennew paths to citizen participation,collective action and collaborative problem solving.