What are smart cities?


What are smart cities?

  • Smart cities are cities that use advanced technologies – interconnected sensors, devices, software and analytics platforms – to collect and analyze vast amounts of data that can help to improve the efficiency of services and the quality of life of its citizens.

  • Smart cities use data to improve things like traffic management, parking, waste management, energy management, public safety and environmental impact.

There’s a great deal of buzz about “smart cities” today as more urban environments are employing advanced technology to improve city services. But what are smart cities exactly? What benefits do they offer and how do they enhance the lives of their citizens? This short primer on “What are smart cities?” provides an overview of smart cities, the technology that powers them and the advances they are making on a variety of fronts.

What are smart cities?

A smart city is an urban environment or municipality that is using a variety of interconnected sensor-enabled devices and advanced analytics to improve the management and delivery of city services.

What are smart cities designed to achieve?

Smart cities are designed to take advantage of the power of data and analytics to make smarter decisions about management of a wide range of city services. The benefits of smart city technology include:

  • More opportunities for citizens to engage with city government.

  • Enhanced water and air quality.

  • Less traffic congestion and shorter commute times.

  • Easier parking.

  • Improved public safety measures.

  • Less crime.

  • A smaller carbon footprint.

  • More efficient use of energy.

  • Greater access to economic development.

What are smart cities’ infrastructure needs?

While there is no single blueprint for how a smart city should function, typical smart city technology includes:

  • A vast collection of sensors and cameras that can collect data on everything from energy usage, water and air quality, traffic patterns, parking spots, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and even city waste bins and recycling containers that need to be emptied.

  • A fast and powerful network that can connect sensors and convey data to analytics platforms.

  • Analytics software that can turn enormous amounts of data into information that can help citizens and informed decision-makers.

  • Interfaces that present information and helpful in useful ways.

What are smart cities doing to solve public safety issues?

Smart cities are using secure video, sensors and communication systems to proactively monitor public spaces and infrastructure as well as interactions between citizens and the police force. These efforts may include monitoring the safety of powerplants and bridges, tracking climates and pollution data, conducting visual surveillance to prevent crime, and using drone technology to monitor traffic, crowds, construction sites and disaster areas.

What are smart cities planning for utilities?

Smart cities use smart street lights to reduce power consumption and to illuminate public areas more effectively. Smart waste management initiatives can alert sanitation crews when trash and recycling bins need to be emptied, helping to keep communities cleaner and safer. Smart water management technology includes meters and leak detectors that can reduce waste and improve conservation measures. And smart grid infrastructure helps to increase energy efficiency for businesses and residential users.

What are smart cities doing to improve transportation?

Smart cities use intelligent transportation technology to alleviate traffic congestion, reduce commute times, improve roadway safety, encourage the use of public transportation and reduce carbon emissions. Intelligent traffic management uses smart traffic lights to manage intersections and protect pedestrians, while smart parking systems help drivers find vacant parking spots more easily.

What are smart cities doing to enhance civic engagement?

Smart cities often use a variety of technologies to make it easier for citizens to interact digitally with government services. For example, smart kiosks installed in public areas provide a wide variety of uses, offering maps and directions, listings of events, free Wi-Fi and charging stations, and access to emergency services.

What are smart cities that are powered by Spectrum Enterprise?

Spectrum Enterprise provides the communication infrastructure that smart cities require to take advantage of the power of data and analytics to improve the lives of citizens. Providing a two-way, fully interactive digital network, gigabit connections, one of the largest LTE cellular networks and more than 350,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation, Spectrum Enterprise is a trusted technology partner to smart cities throughout the country.

Learn more about Spectrum Smart Cities at www.spectrumsmartcities.com.