IoT data provides the basis for smart city use cases

IoT data provides the basis for smart city use cases
5 min read

We keep hearing about smart cities, and the most immediate question is: What makes a city smart? How does a city become smart?
The key characteristics of a smart city are big data, information collected from many different sources and its analysis, followed by the intelligent use of data to improve the lives of residents. This type of data collection requires fast and reliable connections from all possible data sources.
It is important to note that a connected city is an IoT network, but not necessarily a smart city. Connectivity is a prerequisite for being a smart city, but connectivity does not mean "smart", this requires regular data analysis and improvements based on that analysis.
Smart City Software Components and Data Sources
The smart city operating system provides open access to a large amount of data/information about the city in cloud servers. They collect and share data from traffic cameras, road sensors, connected vehicles and connected infrastructure such as roadside units in traffic lights. Intelligence is the result of analyzing this big data in real-time to manage traffic and offline to analyze mobility patterns and high-density areas - as well as spatial and temporal correlations to better understand urban dynamics to address urban planning. Módulo ZIGBEE
Smart city connectivity is often based on IoT networks that continuously provide information-rich data. The simplest use of this data is to turn it into a graph after light processing of the data.
Some traditional use cases for IoT data include traffic status, including average speed and color-coded bottleneck locations, or warning residents of expected natural disasters or adverse weather conditions with instance severity and predicted location.
To capture this data, smart cities rely on personal mobile devices, computers and smart devices in residents' homes and offices. The infrastructure also features a network of cameras and sensors to gather shared city information. These information nodes consist of sensors, modems, mobile devices and computers. Device software connects via IoT networks, but that raises questions about data interoperability and formats.
Such information and warning visualizations have traditionally been communicated via computers or geo-fixed warning systems such as loudspeakers. The current trend is to use mobile devices to provide on-demand, near real-time information without being near a computer. This capability also allows for a more personalized use of IoT information than traditional mass warnings, such as road closures, COVID-19 alerts, or public safety concerns for a geographic area.
Use Cases in Smart Cities
The multitude of sensors in smartphones and 4G/5G network technology means that there are plenty of powerful IoT sensors covering large parts of smart cities automatically. This information-rich data is starting to revolutionize smart city IoT use cases.
These use cases aim to improve the individual user experience within the city. Residents can plan optimal and environmentally friendly intermodal transport, for example, by booking e-bikes or e-scooters and then booking coordinated e-buses or shared e-rides between their travel destinations.
During these rides, smartphone sensors may share information between the vehicle and road users to predict the risk of a collision and warn the driver or reduce the risk of a collision in an autonomous vehicle to improve safety.
Additionally, if residents can order a self-driving car to arrive at their exact location, they could gain even more mobility options. They can also schedule automated deliveries or meal delivery when they are at home.
These use cases are just local examples of what IoT connectivity has to offer, and just the tip of the iceberg of what's possible in smart cities. Governments will see the greatest benefit when the use of information-rich IoT data on a larger scale is optimized not only for individuals, but for large-scale events as well.
For example, local officials can reduce traffic congestion and travel times at major events or festivals for all participants, but this requires coordinated planning and awareness to minimize network latency and provide real-time information to residents. Módulo GPRS
Thoughts on Smart Cities
For IoT deployments in smart cities, smart device installation will increase infrastructure costs, create durability issues, and require long-term maintenance. Additionally, the government should address privacy concerns and any data collected should not include personally identifiable information (PII).
Using smartphone sensors as portable IoT devices could address some of these privacy and cost concerns, as residents would be able to limit PII access, and infrastructure costs and maintenance would be the responsibility of smartphone users.
An important question that remains is how to achieve equitable access to underserved and low-income communities, where the cost of mobile devices and the Internet may hinder access to smart city resources.
Smart cities present excellent opportunities for executives and technology professionals who create or implement IoT devices, but government officials must also address and address associated societal challenges.

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