Technology has seen a rapid growth in the past decade. Technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things etc. which are the technological constituents of smart cities, have been adopted on a massive scale. Tech giants such as Amazon, IBM, Cisco, Oracle etc. are working on making cities smarter & intelligent.

What are Smart Cities?

A ‘Smart City’, as the name suggests is an urban area that draws electronic data with the help of embedded software’s, actuators, sensors and network via the Internet forming a holistic grid of Information & Communication Services (ICT) which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently.

Smart City collects data from Machines, Citizens, Devices, Gadgets, & Assets and eventually process and analyze this data to manage and monitor Transportations, Resource Management, Law Enforcement, Information Services etc. and allows a machine to human interaction and vice versa. Smart Cities enables city officials to directly interact with the city infrastructures and communities and efficiently manage monitor and deploy services to the citizens and track the cities evolution and progress.

Building Blocks of Smart Cities

According to Smart City Hub, the following are considered to be the building blocks of a Smart City

  • Energy: The main focus of any city or country is efficient management of its energy resources. Smart cities enable cities to manage and distribute its resources efficiently avoiding wastage.
  • Technology and Innovation: Technology is the key factor and according to me is the most important element which has massive potential to drastically change a scenario of any city or country. It is very important for any country/city to have a rock-solid technological base
  • Sustainability: It’s not only the technical aspects which make a city smart. It’s also the human aspects for any city to be smart it is very important for the citizens to be smart who can adapt to the technology and get savvy to it also if the technology is to complex it won’t sustain in a long run.
  • Urban Planning and Building: Infrastructure plays a vital role in any cities development. A proper and efficiently planned city has a good scope of sustaining in a long run.
  • Mobility: Transportation in any city is key to its success well planned and timely transportation services help in increasing credibility.
  • Security: Security is the most crucial aspect of the city whether its physical, or financial. Appropriate security services enable to build a stronger bond between the citizens and city officials.

Smart City Frameworks

Smart City is not just one single concept but a combination of several aspects of technology Viz Technological Framework, Human Framework, Institutional Framework & Energy Framework

Technological Framework

Virtual City

Virtual City, also known as the hybrid city in which functions are implemented in cyberspace completely. Virtual cities include the notion of two parallel cities one consists of real citizens and reality and the second parallel virtual city of real entities and people. This is done with the help of digital infrastructures, exchanges, and Datacenters. However, in virtual cities, the distance issue of locations is not easy to manage. Cities such as Singapore, Beijing Shanghai etc. are working on virtual city projects.

Here’s a glimpse of Virtual Singapore

Digital City

According to Yovanof, G. S. & Hazapis, G. N. A digital city “ Is a connected community that combines broadband communications infrastructure; a flexible, service-oriented computing infrastructure based on open industry standards; and, innovative services to meet the needs of governments and their employees, citizens and businesses”.

Samsung R5 reference site for Digital City

Ubiquitous city (U-city)

It is considered to be the extension of Digital City. It creates an ambiance which connects every citizen to any services through any device or gadget. It is considered to be the most advanced form of the smart city and the most criticised one as it focuses on connecting every infrastructure to every facility.

U City concept

Source: insurgentcity

Information City

This is moreover a smart city which builds & developed by the people for the people. In this, the city is completely rigged & connected with the people with the aid of IT infrastructure. The city collects local information and delivers it to the local public portal. It’s moreover an approach than a concept thanks to the information sharing methods amongst the citizens. The city evolves moreover with the help of social approach.

Information city

Source: Concept by David Fung

Intelligent City

Citizens are the most important aspect for any city to evolve. For any city to be intelligent it is very important to nurture and flourish its citizens and their creativity. Intelligent city mainly focusses to do, just that. It involves research as a function to support and uphold learning and innovation procedure of its citizens. According to Komninos and Sefertzi, the attempt to build an “Intelligent” Smart City is more a radical innovation rather than an incremental innovation owing to a big quantity of efforts to use IT trying to transform the daily life.

Intelligent Cities: Building for the Future Generation | Kent Jackson | TEDxUCL

Human Framework

As we discussed above Human Intelligence is one of the most crucial aspects in developing smart cities. This can be further classified into viz Learning City, Creative City, Humane City, Knowledge City. All these aspects of the city are concerned with developing supporting and educating the citizens of the city in order to develop a more knowledgeable workforce which eventually will contribute to the development of the city.

Institutional Framework

According to Moser, M. A., since the 1990s the Smart Communities movement took shape as a strategy to broaden the base of users involved in IT. Members of these Communities are people that share their interest and work in a partnership with government and other institutional organizations to push the use of IT to improve the quality of daily life as a consequence of different worsening in daily actions.

Energy Framework

Smart cities are connected through a network of technologies such as smart transportation, smart infrastructures, smart gadgets which primarily consumes energy that’s why utility service provider also need to implement and provide smart distribution of energy and make sure everyone gets suffice and equivalent energy services without wastage and exploitation of the limited energy or scare resources.

Here are a few cities which are passively implementing smart city concepts

Amsterdam: Began in 2009, Currently includes 170+ smart city projects.

Manchester: Began in 2015, Winner of government-led technology award.

Along with these cities like Smart Nation-Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Columbus(Ohio), Dublin, Milton Keyes etc. are investing heavily in Smart City projects.

The Future looks bright and smart cities will definitely open multiple growth opportunities across all industries. I vouch for Smart Cities, Do you?