5 Things You Don’t Know About Smart Cities, But Should

It’s time to get smart about smart city implementation.

Smart cities. Surely you’ve heard of them, but what do you know about them, really? In truth, probably not nearly as much as you think. 

As populations within metropolitan areas continue to grow and with them, corporate and commercial offices and opportunities, the need for faster, smarter, more efficient, and more economical city resources is at an all-time high. To meet its citizens’ and visitors’ day-to-day needs and demands, municipalities across the globe are transforming into smart cities, connected urban ecosystems that leverage the latest modern technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things to improve city operations and enhance local quality of life.

Yes, smart cities are data-driven urban areas. But they’re also much, much more.

Let’s take a deep dive into 5 things you most likely do not know about smart cities, but should.

#1 – Smart city adoption is not just about adopting
new technology 

While adopting new technologies is great, it only works to make a city smarter if the technologies are adapted to meet its citizens’ needs. The goal of any successful smart city implementation is to apply said technologies in a way that improves citizens’ daily lives, making regular activities more efficient, economical, sustainable, and safer.

As such, it comes as no surprise that cities that prioritize and are world-renowned for their adoption of the latest smart city technologies did not rank high on City Monitor’s smart city index. Rather, cities that are more selective with their technology adoption, so that each innovation resolves a particular citizen problem, are those municipalities that find themselves at the top of the smart city leaderboard. For example, a city that adopts a micro-mobility sharing scheme will only be successful if it also ensures the city’s infrastructure is set up to facilitate e-bike and e-scooter ride shares. Otherwise, said scheme would simply be perceived as an inefficient allocation of funds and other resources.

#2 – Existing infrastructure doesn’t necessarily need to be ripped up to accommodate smart city tech

Out with the old and in with the new? When it comes to smart city transformation and existing city infrastructure, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, going smart does not necessitate doing away with city infrastructure already in place. 

While in some cases, city infrastructure does need an overhaul to enable new technologies and strategies to be successfully executed, other times, existing infrastructure can simply be optimized by leveraging cellular and Low Power Wide Area (LPWAN) wireless technologies to promote better connectivity and its subsequent benefits. For example, the endeavors of Highroad Launchpad portfolio company ACiiST, which transforms existing lamp posts into IoT broadband assets. The company’s non-disruptive installation of their distributed switching technology and management system takes full advantage of available resources, to enable a smart solution that is high-performing, secure, reliable, deployable, and serviceable, 24/7, in real-time.  

#3 – The network connecting smart city tech is the key
to the city’s success 

Smart cities are enabled by a wide variety of devices and technologies, anything and everything from smartphones, cameras, and sensors, to Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). But it is the network that connects all of these innovations and allows them to interact and learn from one another that serves as the driving force and factor behind each smart city’s success. To make the best possible use of the masses of data coming from all connected devices and technologies while protecting itself from malicious breaches and attacks, the connecting network must provide a combination of hyper-segmentation and native stealth capabilities, while still remaining flexible and amenable to evolving user demands.

#4 – Smart city initiatives can help improve the impact
of tourism on citizens’ lives. 

Cities love tourism and its economic support; citizens, less so, as their heavy presence can put a damper on locals’ everyday lives. After all, the more tourists there are in a given city, the more local attractions are heavily populated, the more congested popular traffic routes and methods of public transportation become, and the more prices are raised in touristy areas. 

Smart city initiatives can leverage real-time data collection and analysis to give citizens insider information that improves their quality of life. One example of this is Bismart’s Illegal Tourist Apartment Rental Detection platform, which investigates all rentals in a city, to keep leases on the straight and narrow and avoid illegal sublets to tourists looking for a place to crash at all costs.

#5 – Citizen cooperation is critical to any smart city’s survival. 

Let’s circle back to the first thing you didn’t originally know about smart cities. When smart city tech is adapted to meet the needs of citizens’ everyday lives, it promotes increased engagement within the smart city network and gets citizens to assume an active, participatory role in making their hometown a better, more efficient, and data-driven place to live. Without citizen cooperation, no smart city could ever survive, much less thrive. Data would not be able to be collected continuously or reliably, and cities would have no way of knowing which citizen problems are in need of solving, or which demands they should aim to fulfill. 

How do smart cities encourage cooperation? It takes one part creativity, one part transparency, and a healthy dose of social responsibility. 

Bottom line

Smart cities are more than the installation of technological gadgets. They are urban ecosystems formed from the bond and trust forged between municipalities and their citizens, strengthened by a solid, connective network, and empowered by a goal to serve everyone’s best interests, at all times. 

Think you know all about smart cities? Keep reading our blog to learn more.