How Can IoT Data Act As The Basis For Smart Cities?

Real-time traffic updates and notifications for public safety are two ways that smart cities may simplify the lives of its citizens. 

Governments, however, must to be aware of good use case management techniques. 

Every time we hear about "smart cities," the following questions come to mind: 

  1. What characterizes a smart city? 
  2. How is a city capable of intelligence? 

Big data, which is information gathered from several sources and analyzed, together with its intelligent application to better the lives of its citizens, are crucial components of a smart city. 

Fast and dependable connection from all potential data sources is necessary for this kind of data collecting. 

It's crucial to remember that although a connected city is an IoT network, it's not always a smart one. 

A smart city must be linked in order to exist, but connectivity alone does not equal "smartness," which calls for ongoing data analysis and changes based on that analysis. 

Smart city operating systems (OSes) provide public access to a vast quantity of data and information about the city stored on a cloud server. 

Traffic cameras, road sensors, connected cars, and other linked infrastructure, such as traffic signals and roadside devices, are sources of data that they gather and exchange. 

Smart cities are those that use real-time big data analysis to control traffic, offline study of mobility patterns and regions of greater density, geographical and temporal correlation to better understand city dynamics, and urban planning. 

Connectivity for smart cities often relies on an IoT network that continuously produces data that is rich in information. 

The simplest way to utilize this data is to just make it accessible after a little amount of data processing to convert it to a graphical format. 

IoT data is often used to provide traffic status, which includes average speed and bottleneck places with color coding, or to alert locals to impending natural catastrophes or unfavorable weather conditions and provide information on the severity and projected locations. 

Smart cities depend on personal mobile devices, PCs, and smart gadgets in citizens' homes and workplaces to collect this data. 

In order to gather shared municipal data, the infrastructure also incorporates networks of cameras and sensors. 

Computers, cell phones, sensors, and modems make up these information nodes. 

Although linked to an IoT network, device software poses issues with data formatting and interoperability. 

Computers or geo-fixed warning devices like loudspeakers have typically been used to transmit this information and warning representations. 

Using mobile devices to provide on-demand, close to real-time information without having to be close to a computer is the current trend. 

When compared to the conventional mass warnings for a certain geographic region, such as road closures, COVID-19 notifications, or public safety issues, this feature also enables a more customized use of IoT information. 

A significant number of potent IoT sensors that automatically cover the majority of a smart city's regions are available thanks to the abundance of sensors in smartphones and 4G/5G network technologies. 

IoT application cases for smart cities are beginning to change as a result of this information-rich data. 

These use cases are intended to enhance each user's experience inside a city. 

  • Residents may schedule coordinated electric buses or shared electric rides between their travel locations after first renting an e-bike or e-scooter to make the most efficient and environmentally friendly multi-modal excursions. 
  • In order to forecast collision risk and notify the driver or reduce collision risk for a self-driving car to reduce collision risk for increased safety, smartphone sensors may communicate information between the vehicles and the road users throughout these journeys. 
  • If inhabitants could order a self-driving vehicle to pick them up right where they are, they would have additional mobility options available to them. 
  • Additionally, people might set up automatic food or good delivery while they are at home. 

These use cases are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is feasible in a smart city and local samples of what is accessible with IoT connection. 

When the information-rich IoT data is utilized on a bigger scale to optimize for major events rather than just one person, governments will profit the most. 

For instance, local authorities may cut down on traffic jams and travel times for everyone attending a big event or festival, but this requires coordinated preparation and awareness to cut down on network latency and provide locals access to real-time information. 

Installation of smart devices will drive up infrastructure costs, raise questions about longevity, and need ongoing maintenance for IoT installations in smart cities. 

Governments should also address privacy concerns and ensure that any data acquired does not include personally identifying information (PII). 

Since homeowners may control access to PII and smartphone users will be responsible for infrastructure expenses and upkeep, using smartphone sensors as portable IoT devices can help with some of these privacy and cost problems. 

How to provide fair access for underprivileged populations and lower-income neighborhoods, where the cost of mobile devices and internet may be a barrier to accessing smart city resources, remains a key challenge. 

Executive and IT experts who design or deploy IoT devices have great prospects in smart cities, but policymakers also need to address and resolve associated societal issues.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

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