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November 28, 2022

Smart City Technology: The IoT Revolution

Category: All Industries

Smart cities are no longer the realm of sci-fi movies; they’re on the way to becoming a reality. With well over 50 percent (and rising) of the global population living in urban areas, the importance of efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable infrastructure can’t be overstated.

Smart cities are made possible by devices collectively known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Together, they collect real-time data and take appropriate action that results in the best use of energy, infrastructure use, service provision and more.

As such technology becomes more widely used and advanced, residents and the planet reap the benefits. A better quality of life, reduced emissions, lowered energy needs… These are just some of the advantages that smart cities will bring.

Smart City Technology: The IoT Revolution

The concept behind a smart city depends on wide-reaching connectivity. Today’s tech no longer means relying on hardwired data transfer. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 5G and the rise in micro data centres mean that information can be gathered, sorted and actioned instantly. This enables IoT devices to dynamically service needs, flexing and changing in response to demand.

The following are examples of how IoT devices and smart cities will help revolutionise urban life.

Transportation

This covers public transport, private vehicles, traffic management and more. For instance:

  • Traffic flow can be controlled depending on the number of vehicles on the road. In response, traffic lights can change the sequence, extra lanes can be opened on highways, and more trains and buses can be deployed at peak times.
  • Private vehicles can receive instant information regarding delays and congestion, suggesting more effective routes. Voice search will become more accurate and widely used to assist further.
  • Instant diverts can be used to reroute traffic around a trouble spot.

Utilities

Controlling the flow of gas, electricity, water, and other utilities is a prime example of how smart technology provides instant advantages. Having an infrastructure that can adapt to demand, provide 24/7 usage information for billing, track consumption, monitor efficiency and provide instant notifications of leaks or other issues will provide massive advantages.

Water level monitoring and potable and wastewater management have long been challenging to make truly efficient. Maintenance and logistics teams will benefit from a more dynamic approach by using advanced IoT devices that will instantly alert to floods, leaks or other service interruptions. This will help reduce water loss and wastage, which is already becoming one of the greatest concerns with rising temperatures and drought worldwide.

The technology to do so isn’t just in the making; it’s already here. Efficient, affordable solutions, such as Chesterton Connect, are a simple way of monitoring pumps and sealing systems. Once connected, it uses Bluetooth to transfer data regarding equipment vibration, surface temperature, process pressure and process pressure. This allows operators to be instantly alerted should anything fall outside normal range.

Such devices can also be used in hazardous environments. The Chesterton Connect Intrinsically Safe Certified Sensor provides the same abilities and can be deployed in virtually any location, thanks to a design that prevents it from being a source of ignition.

 

Chesterton Connect™ Intrinsically Safe Certified Sensor

Chesterton Connect™ Intrinsically Safe Certified Sensor

Other utilities that benefit from smart tech include:

  • Street lighting: smart lights reduce energy consumption, increase safety, reduce maintenance needs and have a wholly positive environmental impact. Some success stories include Copenhagen in Denmark, where the introduction has reduced energy costs by around 60 per cent and Bristol in the UK, where associated costs have been lowered by more than £1 million per year
  • Air quality monitoring: Constant air quality monitoring, be it outside, in offices or in homes, can trigger alerts to people’s smart devices should pollution levels rise to a hazardous level
  • Waste management: Smart bins that provide data on when they need emptying help refuse and recycling vehicles make the best use of their time. Improving such waste pickup routes means more bins can be emptied during a team’s shift, fuel-efficient routes can be planned and traffic delays are reduced by having fewer refuse trucks blocking the highways.

These certainly aren’t the only ways IoT devices communicate across a smart city grid. Video surveillance can lead to safer streets, despatching the relevant services when an incident occurs. Weather alerts can be beamed to citizens’ mobile devices, and smoke/fire detection can dramatically reduce the risk of injury or death and the amount of destruction caused.

While there are multiple hurdles to overcome before cities can announce that they’re truly smart, technology is speeding towards reality. Two of the greatest are issues related to privacy and realistic backup to ensure smooth operation should there be power outages or other problems.

However, the era of the smart city is here. Careful deployment and the use of more intelligent tech, such as AI, machine learning, and, of course, the rollout of 5G, are already woven into the fabric of every industry. While our cities might not be fully “smart” for some years to come, technology is a vital element in combating the now-very-obvious effects of climate change.

By further exploring and embracing these concepts, we can transform our urban areas and the lives of those who live there. Smart cities and IoT are here to stay, and our planet depends on us to make them work.


This article was featured in Council Magazine

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