Modern cities today are competing for residents, tourists, investors, funding from the government, among others, and a city which is better connected and is smart, has the maximum chance of winning. Talking about connected cities, IoT is the key enabler—CCTV, traffic signals, parking meters and public transportation, roll your eyes and there are plenty of microchip embedded devices connected to Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is seeing a staggering development owing to the huge advantages and adoption rates it pose.
IoT underlining the Smart Cities-
Everything from fitness devices to smart phones and appliances to flat panels are getting connected and smarter. Along with these, ‘Smart Cities’ has gained much momentum and has become a buzzword today. But what is a smart city? As many would have heard, a smart city is nothing but an intelligent ecosystem that uses IoT to reach new levels of efficiency.
The IoT in Smart City works on M2M bi-directional networking for gathering and processing data through sensors, actuators, smart phones and smart applications, which is then analysed and used to improve the infrastructure, traffic management, public utilities and other areas like weather, pollution (air, water and noise) and energy consumption.
IoT is comprised of three layers— perception layer, network layer and application layer. Few things such as RFID, cameras, sensors and GPS could be considered as perception layer as they are the devices that can detect objects, perceive data, gather information and communicate the data with other devices. Transferring data from a perception layer to application layer is the task of network layer, which comprises Wifi, 2G, 3G, 4G, Zigbee, Zwave, LPWAN and other protocols. The last layer, which is the application layer, receives the information and process it to create smart homes, smart cities, power system monitoring, energy management, among others.
Incorporating IoT in the building infrastructure –
Talking about increased adoption of IoT it wouldn’t be unfair to say that building managers and construction companies from all over the world are looking at ways to incorporate IoT in infrastructure.
- Amongst these, traffic signals and road crossings are gaining much prominence where sensors are being used to record the data such as number of vehicles passing through a particular road, vehicle direction during the peak hour etc. This information is then used to divert and manage the traffic accordingly and reduce congestion.
- Smart grids, for instance, is another utility that offer energy solutions to people and meet their requirements in a sustainable manner.
- Smart electricity meters and gas meters can keep a check on the consumption by consumers hence ensuring there is no wastage of resources.
- Automated parking services ensure a real time update about the available parking spots in the city nearby to avoid urban traffic congestions.
These and many other IoT enabled approaches are becoming a critical part of the Smart City plan and many cities have already adopted these intelligent steps to build smarter societies.
Smart City for a sustainable future –
With the concept of Smart City hitting the cord, it has been witnessing greater adoption as a way to offer high quality of life to its residents, while being considerate towards the environment. Sustainable solutions like LED bulbs and installation of solar panels are being combined with IoT, which are further delivering improved results.
Other smart solutions such as motion detection lights and smart elevators have also become quite popular amongst masses. In 2010, IBM detected that people of the New York City spent 22.5 years’ worth of time waiting for elevators, which calls for a solution to deliver greater efficiency and boost the productivity of people.
The possibilities for smart solutions are endless. Energy management, remote asset monitoring and mobile asset tracking, when connected to a single platform, can create a strong foundation for building various customised solutions like metering of energy, better management of utilities, traffic control, public transport management, waste and building management, power distribution and resource management. These can not only save time and minimize costs, but can enable a better utilization of resources.
Smart City calls for a creation of an environment which has connected devices around the city, that can manage and control most aspects of our daily lives, and IoT is definitely playing a key role in the overall monitoring of resources.