Cities across the world are experiencing exponentially growing populations, and with that, comes pressing challenges in monitoring and managing efficient and cost-effective municipal services, enhancing public transport infrastructure, reducing traffic congestion, and optimize waste management, street lighting and air pollution. Furthermore, these challenges coupled together make it very difficult to devise optimal and sustainable urban planning as information regarding these issues are often found in disparate, data silo systems, if such systems exist at all. The Internet of Things (IoT), with its ecosystem of smart, connected devices and powerful analytics, is transforming cities across the world into the smart cities of tomorrow, equipped with connected, integrated, and highly scalable technological ecosystems of their own. They provide the necessary, centralized and holistic insights to drive informed decision-making to overcome the challenges of running and growing an efficient city.
Discover how IoT is transforming Cities into Smart Cities.
With limited parking options available in most cities, insight into how existing parking spaces are used is invaluable to urban planning for increasing parking availability. It can help people reduce the amount of time spent navigating and searching for parking – up to 20 minutes is spent per person looking for parking, and that comes with a significant, unnecessary fuel consumption and CO2 emission.
Magnetic field sensors detect the presence of a parked car and are installed across all car parks in the city. The data on car parking availability across all car parks is collated and then sent to the cloud, where it is then visually presented into a parking availability map. This map is readily accessible to urban planners for understanding where parking demands are highest, and for citizens to discover which car parks are available upon arriving to their destination.
When night falls, the entire grid of pedestrian and roadside street lights comes to life, illuminating walkways, parks, roads, highways and landmarks so citizens and tourists alike can safely navigate. Given the sheer number of street lights, the task of maintaining their operational excellence as well as meeting tightening energy consumption regulations is becoming a challenging task.
A typical street light stays on indefinitely and at its maximum brightness for the duration of the night, even if no one is around. When a streetlight bulb fails, there is significant turnaround time before the bulb is replaced, creating several safety concerns in regards to both crime and safe navigation for pedestrians and cars.
With IoT, each city street lighting can become a grid of always-on, connected, smart city lights. Each individual street light can have a cheap, affordable motion sensor that detects motion, adjusting its brightness when motion is detected, dimming when none is detected. If any bulb goes out, urban management knows exactly where and what type of bulb is required.
Air & Noise Pollution Monitoring
Transportation and industry are the two biggest contributors of air and noise pollution to urban populations, resulting in significant environmental damage and affects to human health, both physiologically and psychologically. Other than the obvious city smog that is apparent against the backdrop of sunlight, the variability and specificity in the pollutant gases and noise is invisible to the human eye.
With a highly affordable and ubiquitous Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) that are capable of monitoring various pollutant gases and noise pollution, then sending that data using telematics to the cloud, city management can now access real-time, geo-referenced insights into the air and noise conditions across an urban area. Equipped with such knowledge, informed and effective decisions can be made on how to tackle the problem, either through pin-pointing and regulating the biggest pollution emitters, planting more trees to absorb highly concentrated areas of pollution, or provide necessary health warnings to reduce exposure.
Aesthetically, it’s not pleasant to see rubbish bins around an urban area overflowing with rubbish. It creates an unpleasant look and smell, it’s a breeding ground for pests and is extremely unhygienic and environmentally unfriendly if it escapes into rainwater drains and into our rivers and oceans.
Smart waste management is waste management that ensures rubbish bins never overflow and are promptly emptied, and rubbish collection scheduling is done efficiently. Smart, affordable sensors deliver real-time data into the cloud, where insights into the current capacity of each individually geo-referenced rubbish bin, in and around in an urban area is provided.