Whether you are a tech aficionado or a casual tech fan, one thing is for certain: you have heard about the Internet of things on at least one occasion. If anything, it would be more surprising if you have not considering that the Internet of things is making waves at the moment.
In simple terms, the idea behind the Internet of things is connecting any device which can be turned on and off to the Internet or to a certain network. This means that related gadgets, devices, and appliances can be connected and programmed in such a way that will improve efficiency. For the individual, this could mean a better kept household, a more efficient way of doing chores, and better communication among members of the same household. For cities, the Internet of things spell accessibility and efficiency, giving way to the rise of smart cities.
How the Internet of things can Help in Creating Smarter Cities
To put it simply, a smart city is a city wherein information and communication technologies are incorporated into various aspects of life, particularly public services, in order to improve the functions of the city, as well as improve the quality of life of people in it. The ultimate goal in the creation of smart cities is increasing efficiency and livability in a way that maximizes resources and minimizes waste and operating costs.
There are various ways in which the Internet of things can be used in order to create smarter cities. Since the Internet of things can be used in programming and remotely controlling any device which can be connected to the internet or to a network, the possibilities are virtually limitless. The Internet of things can be used in improving various aspects of city life, ranging from enhanced public services to accelerated emergency response.
The internet of things can be used in enhancing public services in a variety of ways. For example, it can be used in the creation of parking availability apps which can aid in alleviating traffic problems, especially in busy areas. It can also be used in creating push notifications for city-wide announcements, in detecting water leaks, and even in determining health or transport eligibility.
Effective management of public transport is also one good application of the internet of things. The usual pitfall of transportation systems is the lack of coordination between different modes of public transportation. The internet of things attempts to solve this problem by providing means by which different modes of public transportation may compensate for delays and shortcomings of one another. This presents commuters with several travel alternatives. In addition, the internet of things can also be used in predictive maintenance of transport systems, thereby further reducing the likelihood mishaps and delay.
Finally, the internet of things is also useful in terms of accelerated emergency response. Through real-time collection of data, information across various devices can be analyzed almost instantaneously, thereby allowing for quicker response to emergencies. This is especially helpful in the case of medical emergencies wherein doctors at the destination hospital could give instructions and receive patient data to allow for quicker treatment upon the patient’s arrival at the destination hospital.
Of course, using the internet of things to create smarter cities also come with its own disadvantages albeit the disadvantages are typically related to logistics and resources. In order to effectively convert a city into a smart city, the internet network throughout the city must be well-established. The city’s infrastructure must also undergo a couple of changes modifications in order to accommodate internet connectivity and such other network programming functions.
Despite the upfront costs associated with creating smarter cities, the final result is certainly well worth the investment. After all, not only do smart cities provide a safer, more efficient, and a more livable community for residents, but they also help in addressing environmental concerns.
Smarter Cities for Healthier Environment
In addition to being highly-efficient, smart cities are also environment-friendly. In the same way that sensors can be used in operating streetlights and managing transportation systems, the internet of things can also be used in creating more environment-friendly cities. Here are some of the ways in which using the internet of things can be smarter for the environment:
1. It lays the groundwork for less emissions. One of the greatest advantages of employing the internet of things in creating smarter cities is that it greatly improves the transportation system. With several public modes of transportation available, as well as with more efficient ride-sharing options, there is less incentive for individuals to drive their own cars, thereby lowering emissions. In addition, a more efficient transport system also lessens the number of vehicles on the streets, making major thoroughfares more bike-friendly.
2. It is more energy- and resource-efficient. Employing the internet of things in creating smarter cities means automating routine processes. This not only significantly lowers processing time, but also allows for the optimization of processes in such a way that conserves energy. Connecting related services to one network allows for proper scheduling of maintenance, check-ups, and operation times, thereby allowing operators to determine when certain services or devices can be turned off without affecting the delivery of public services.
In addition, the importance of using sensors in creating smarter cities greatly contribute in maximizing energy use. By using automated doors in major establishments, for example, indoor climate can better be maintained, thereby preventing centralized cooling systems from overworking and consuming too much energy. Using sensors in ensuring that resources are only turned on when needed is also another advantage of the internet of things. For example, using touchless faucets in public bathrooms will allow the city to save on water consumption. The same also goes in terms of detecting leaks in water pipes which would otherwise go unnoticed. Sensors are also especially useful in the case of streetlights since instead of keeping streetlights on, it can remain off until movement is detected in the immediate vicinity.
3. It allows for real-time monitoring of living conditions. Finally, sensors and cameras installed in smart cities allows for regular monitoring of environmental conditions, ranging from pollution levels, air quality, noise levels, temperature, and even traffic. By collecting such data, the city council can easily identify areas which need more attention and enact policies which will help in addressing environmental problems early on. Regular monitoring of living conditions also allows the city council to see how efficient environment-related processes are, as in the case of garbage collection and waste disposal.
The internet of things has certainly changed the way in which we do things. On a larger scale, as in the case of cities, using the internet of things to optimize processes can help in improving efficiency and in taking care of the environment. By allowing for regular monitoring of living conditions and real-time analysis of data, the internet of things can give the city council the information they need to nip environmental problems in the bud and come up with environmental solutions than can be implemented effectively even with limited resources. Thus, the internet of things is essential not only in making smart cities more efficient but also in helping alleviate environmental problems which inevitably arise in metropolitan areas.