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What is a Smart City?

A smart city is a framework, predominantly composed of Information and

Communication Technologies (ICT), to develop, deploy and promote sustainable
development practices to address growing urbanization challenges.
A big part of this ICT framework is essentially an intelligent network of
connected objects and machines that transmit data using wireless technology
and the cloud.
Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze and manage data in real-time to
help municipalities, enterprises, and citizens make better decisions in the
moment that improve quality of life.
Citizens engage with smart city ecosystems in a variety of ways using
smartphones and mobile devices, as well as connected cars and homes. Pairing
devices and data with a city’s physical infrastructure and services can cut costs
and improve sustainability.
Communities can improve energy distribution, streamline trash collection,
decrease traffic congestion and even improve air quality with help from the IoT.
Why do we need smart cities?
Urbanization is a non-ending phenomenon.
Today, 54% of people worldwide live in cities, a proportion that’s expected to
reach 66% by 2050.
Combined with the overall population growth, urbanization will add another
2.5 billion people to cities over the next three decades. Environmental, social
and economic sustainability is a must to keep pace with this rapid expansion
that is taxing our cities’ resources.
193 countries have agreed upon the agenda of the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), in September 2015 at the United Nations. Citizens and local
authorities are certainly more agile to launch swift initiatives and smart city
technology is paramount to success and meeting these goals.

What makes smart cities successful?

In addition to people, dwellings, commerce, and traditional urban
infrastructure, there are four essential elements necessary for successful smart
1. Pervasive wireless connectivity
2. Open data
3. Security you can trust in
4. Flexible monetization schemes

What’s the best wireless technology for smart

The first building block of any smart city application is reliable, pervasive
wireless connectivity.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all, evolving Low Power Wide Area Network
(LPWAN) technologies are well suited to most smart city applications for their
cost efficiency and ubiquity. This includes LTE Cat M, NB-IoT, LoRa, Bluetooth
and a few others that all contribute to the fabric of connected cities.
The advent of 5G technology is expected to be a watershed event that propels
smart city technology into the mainstream and accelerates new deployments.
IoT use cases for Smart Cities

IoT-enabled smart city use cases span multiple areas: from contributing to a
healthier environment and improving traffic to enhancing public safety and
optimizing street lighting. Below, we provide an overview of the most popular
use cases that are already implemented in smart cities across the globe.

Road Traffic
Smart cities ensure that their citizens get from point A to point B as safely and
efficiently as possible. To achieve this, municipalities turn to IoT development
and implement smart traffic solutions.
Smart traffic solutions use different types of sensors, as well as fetch GPS data
from drivers’ smart phones to determine the number, location and the speed of
vehicles. At the same time, smart traffic lights connected to a cloud
management platform allow monitoring green light timings and automatically
alter the lights based on current traffic situation to prevent congestion.
Additionally, using historical data, smart solutions for traffic management can
predict where the traffic could go and take measures to prevent potential
For example, being one of the most traffic-affected cities in the world, Los
Angeles has implemented a smart traffic solution to control traffic flow. Road-
surface sensors and closed-circuit television cameras send real-time updates
about the traffic flow to a central traffic management platform. The platform
analyzes the data and notifies the platform users of congestion and traffic signal
malfunctions via desktop user apps. Additionally, the city is deploying a network
of smart controllers to automatically make second-by-second traffic lights
adjustments, reacting to changing traffic conditions in real time.

Smart Parking
With the help of GPS data from drivers’ smartphones (or road-surface sensors
embedded in the ground on parking spots), smart parking solutions determine
whether the parking spots are occupied or available and create a real-time
parking map. When the closest parking spot becomes free, drivers receive a
notification and use the map on their phone to find a parking spot faster and
easier instead of blindly driving around.

Public Transport
The data from IoT sensors can help to reveal patterns of how citizens use
transport. Public transportation operators can use this data to enhance traveling
experience, achieve a higher level of safety and punctuality. To carry out a more
sophisticated analysis, smart public transport solutions can combine multiple
sources, such as ticket sales and traffic information.
In London, for instance, some train operators predict the loading of train
passenger cars on their trips in and out of the city. They combine the data from
ticket sales, movement sensors, and CCTV cameras installed along the platform.
Analyzing this data, train operators can predict how each car will load up with
passengers. When a train comes into a station, train operators encourage
passengers to spread along the train to maximize the loading. By maximizing the
capacity use, train operators avoid train delays.

Street Lighting
IoT-based smart cities make maintenance and control of street lamps more
straightforward and cost-effective. Equipping streetlights with sensors and
connecting them to a cloud management solution helps to adapt lighting
schedule to the lighting zone.
Smart lighting solutions gather data on illuminance, movement of people and
vehicles, and combine it with historical and contextual data (e.g., special events,
public transport schedule, time of day and year, etc.) and analyze it to improve
the lighting schedule. As a result, a smart lighting solution “tells” a streetlight to
dim, brighten, switch on or switch off the lights based on the outer conditions.
For instance, when pedestrians cross the road, the lights around the crossings
can switch to a brighter setting; when a bus is expected to arrive at a bus stop,
the streetlights around it can be automatically set brighter than those further
away, etc.

Waste Management
Most waste collection operators empty containers according to predefined
schedules. This is not a very efficient approach since it leads to the unproductive
use of waste containers and unnecessary fuel consumption by waste collecting
IoT-enabled smart city solutions help to optimize waste collecting schedules by
tracking waste levels, as well as providing route optimization and operational
Each waste container gets a sensor that gathers the data about the level of the
waste in a container. Once it is close to a certain threshold, the waste
management solution receives a sensor record, processes it, and sends a
notification to a truck driver’s mobile app. Thus, the truck driver empties a full
container, avoiding emptying half-full ones.

IoT-driven smart city solutions allow tracking parameters critical for a healthy
environment in order to maintain them at an optimal level. For example, to
monitor water quality, a city can deploy a network of sensors across the water
grid and connect them to a cloud management platform. Sensors measure pH
level, the amount of dissolved oxygen and dissolved ions. If leakage occurs and
the chemical composition of water changes, the cloud platform triggers an
output defined by the users. For example, if a Nitrate (NO3-) level exceeds 1
mg/L, a water quality management solution alerts maintenance teams of
contamination and automatically creates a case for field workers, who then start
fixing the issue.
Another use case is monitoring air quality. For that, a network of sensors is
deployed along busy roads and around plants. Sensors gather data on the
amount of CO, nitrogen, and sulfur oxides, while the central cloud platform
analyzes and visualizes sensor readings, so that platform users can view the map
of air quality and use this data to point out areas where air pollution is critical
and work out recommendations for citizens.

Public Safety
For enhancing public safety, IoT-based smart city technologies offer real-time
monitoring, analytics, and decision-making tools. Combining data from acoustic
sensors and CCTV cameras deployed throughout the city with the data from
social media feed and analyzing it, public safety solutions can predict potential
crime scenes. This will allow the police to stop potential perpetrators or
successfully track them.
For example, more than 90 cities across the United States use a gunshot
detection solution. The solution uses connected microphones installed
throughout a city. The data from microphones passes over to the cloud platform,
which analyzes the sounds and detects a gunshot. The platform measures the
time it took for the sound to reach the microphone and estimates the location
of the gun. When the gunshot and its location are identified, cloud software
alerts the police via a mobile app.

IoT-equipped smart cities allow citizens to save money by giving them more
control over their home utilities. IoT enables different approaches to smart
 Smart meters & billing
With a network of smart meters, municipalities can provide citizens with cost-
effective connectivity to utilities companies’ IT systems. Now, smart connected
meters can send data directly to a public utility over a telecom network,
providing it with reliable meter readings. Smart metering allows utilities
companies to bill accurately for the amount of water, energy and gas consumed
by each household.
 Revealing consumption patterns
A network of smart meters enables utilities companies to gain greater visibility
and see how their customers consume energy and water. With a network of
smart meters, utilities companies can monitor demand in real time and redirect
resources as necessary or encourage consumers to use less energy or water at
times of shortage.
 Remote monitoring
IoT smart city solutions can also provide citizens with utility management
services. These services allow citizens to use their smart meters to track and
control their usage remotely. For instance, a householder can turn off their
home central heating using a mobile phone. Additionally, if a problem (e.g., a
water leakage) occurs, utilities companies can notify householders and send
specialists to fix it.

Iterative approach to implementing smart city

The range of smart city applications is highly diverse. What they have in common
is the approach to implementation. Whether municipalities plan to automate
waste collection or improve street lighting, they should start with the
foundation – a basic smart city platform. If a municipality prefers to expand the
range of smart city services in future, it will be possible to upgrade the existing
architecture with new tools and technologies without having to rebuild it.
Here is a six-step implementation model to follow for creating an efficient and
scalable IoT architecture for a smart city.

Stage 1: Basic Iot-Based Smart City Platform

To be able to scale, smart city implementation should start with designing a
basic architecture – it will serve as a springboard for future enhancements and
allow adding new services without losing functional performance. A basic IoT
solution for smart cities includes four components:
 The network of smart things
A smart city – as any IoT system – uses smart things equipped with sensors and
actuators. The immediate goal of sensors is to collect data and pass it to a central
cloud management platform. Actuators allow devices to act - alter the lights,
restrict the flow of water to the pipe with leakage, etc.
 Gateways
Any IoT system comprises two parts – a “tangible” part of IoT devices and
network nodes and a cloud part. The data cannot simply pass from one part to
the other. There must be doors – field gateways. Field gateways facilitate data
gathering and compression by pre processing and filtering data before moving
it to the cloud. The cloud gateway ensures secure data transmission between
field gateways and the cloud part of a smart city solution.
 Data lake
The main purpose of a data lake is to store data. Data lakes preserve data in its
raw state. When the data is needed for meaningful insights, it’s extracted and
passed over to the big data warehouse.
 Big data warehouse
A big data warehouse is a single data repository. Unlike data lakes, it contains
only structured data. Once the value of data has been defined, it’s extracted,
transformed and loaded into the big data warehouse. Moreover, it stores
contextual information about connected things, e.g., when sensors were
installed, as well as the commands sent to devices’ actuators by control

Stage 2: Monitoring and basic analytics

With data analytics, it is possible to monitor devices’ environment and set rules
for control applications (we cover them at stage 4) to carry out a particular task.
For example, analyzing the data from soil moisture sensors deployed across a
smart park, cities can set rules for the electronic valves to close or open based
on the identified moisture level. The data collected with sensors can be
visualized on a single platform dashboard, allowing users to know the current
state of each park zone.

Stage 3: Deep analytics

Processing IoT-generated data, city administrations can go beyond monitoring
& basic analytics and identify patterns and hidden correlations in sensor data.
Data analytics uses advanced techniques like machine learning (ML) and
statistical analysis. ML algorithms analyze historical sensor data stored in the big
data warehouse to identify trends and create predictive models based on them.
The models are used by control applications that send commands to IoT devices’
actuators. Here is how it applies in practice.
Unlike a traditional traffic light that is programmed to display a particular signal
for a definite period, a smart traffic light can adapt signal timings to the traffic
scenario. ML algorithms are applied to historical sensor data to reveal traffic
patterns and adjust signal timings, helping to improve average vehicle speed and
avoid congestions.

Stage 4: Smart control

Control applications ensure better automation of smart city objects by
sending commands to their actuators. Basically, they “tell” actuators what to do
to solve a particular task. There are rule-based and ML-based control
applications. Rules for rule-based control applications are defined manually,
while ML-based control applications use models created by ML algorithms.
These models are identified based on data analysis; they are tested, approved
and regularly updated.

Stage 5: Instant interacting with citizens via user

Along with the possibility of automated control, there should always be an
option for users to influence the behavior of smart city applications (for
example, in case of emergency). This task is carried out by user applications.
User applications allow citizens to connect to the central smart city management
platform to monitor and control IoT devices, as well as receive notifications and
alerts. For example, using GPS data from drivers’ smartphones, a smart traffic
management solution identifies a traffic jam. To prevent even bigger
congestion, the solution automatically sends a notification to the drivers in the
area, encouraging them to take a different route.
At the same time, employees at a traffic control center who use a desktop user
app receive a ‘congestion alert.’ To relieve the congestion and re-route part of
the traffic, they send a command to the traffic lights’ actuators to alter the

Stage 6: Integrating several solutions

Achieving “smartness” is not a one-time action – it is a continuous process.
Implementing IoT-based smart city solutions today, municipalities should think
of services they might like to implement tomorrow. It implies not only increasing
the number of sensors but, more importantly, the number of functions. Let’s
illustrate this functional scalability with the example of a smart city solution for
traffic monitoring.
A city deploys a traffic management solution to detect traffic jams in real time
and manage traffic lights to reduce traffic in the areas with intensive traffic. After
some time, the city decides to ensure city traffic doesn’t harm the environment
and integrates the traffic management solution with a smart air quality
monitoring solution. Cross-solution integration allows controlling both traffic
and air quality in the city dynamically.
For that, traffic lights or street lights along the roads can be equipped with
sensors that monitor air quality. Sensors measure the amount of CO, NO, and
NO2 in the air and pass data records to a central air quality management
platform for processing. If the amount of harmful gases in the air is critical,
control applications apply rules or use models to take an output action, e.g.,
‘alter traffic lights.’ Before that, there is a need to make sure that altering traffic
lights won’t cause accidents or blockages in other areas. It is possible due to the
integration of the traffic management solution to the air quality management
solution. The traffic management platform performs real-time analysis and
identifies if it is possible to alter the traffic lights. If altering the lights is
acceptable, control applications send a command to the traffic lights’ actuators,
which execute the command.
Applying an iterative approach helps municipalities to reduce implementation
costs, get a faster pay-off and make the benefits of smart solutions visible for
citizens sooner.

Adapting Iot Implementation Strategy To The City Size

Iterative approach can be leveraged in cities of different sizes. In larger ones, it
helps to deal with the scale and complexity of implementation; in smaller ones,
it helps to reduce investments in smart solutions and use constrained
infrastructure resources more reasonably. However, starting a smart project in
a smaller city, municipalities have some more points to consider.
On the way to smartness, midsized and small cities face many barriers, including
budgetary and procurement shortages, limited resources for public services,
under-resourced IT infrastructure, etc. However, it doesn’t mean a smaller city
cannot be a smart city.
Starting a smart initiative in a city of medium or small size, it makes sense to
begin with the projects that do not require huge investments and deliver
tangible return on investments, such as smart parking or waste management,
and use the established infrastructure to implement new services.
For example, the town of Vail, CO has less than 6,000 inhabitants but boasts an
extensive smart infrastructure. The town started smart city development with
connected streetlights. Later, they used the established infrastructure to
broaden the range of services and topped it with smart parking and irrigation
To determine which applications are a good fit for smaller cities, we’ve analyzed
them by the volume of investments, required infrastructure, pay-off period, the
visibility of benefits for citizens and came up with the following table:

Another non-trivial way to enhance the affordability and accessibility of smart

applications is sharing a common platform with a larger city. The cloud nature
of IoT-enabled smart city solutions is suitable for that. This way, smart city
solutions of both large and smaller smart cities are connected to and managed
via a single cloud platform. By sharing the platform based on open data, several
smart cities form a common urban ecosystem. One of the examples of such
sharing is the Iberian Smart Cities Network, which currently includes 111 cities
in Portugal and Spain. The network comprises cities of different sizes, which
cooperate in multiple areas including smart energy, mobility, environment, and


All ecosystem partners - governments, enterprises, software providers, device
manufacturers, energy providers, and network service providers - must do their
part and integrate solutions that abide by four core security objectives:
1. Availability: Without actionable, real-time, and reliable access to data,
the smart city can’t thrive. How data is collected, distilled and shared is
critical, and security solutions must avoid negative effects on availability.
2. Integrity: Smart cities depend on reliable and accurate data. Measures
must be taken to ensure that data is accurate and free from manipulation.
3. Confidentiality: Some of the data collected, stored and analyzed will
include sensitive details about consumers themselves. Steps must be
taken to prevent unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information.
4. Accountability: Users of a system must be responsible for their actions.
Their interactions with sensitive systems should be logged and associated
with a specific user. These logs should be difficult to forge and have strong
integrity protection.
To achieve these security core objectives, strong authentication and ID
management solutions need to be integrated into the ecosystem to ensure that
data is shared only with authorized parties.
The solutions also protect backend systems from intrusion and hacking.
As a result of growing digital security concerns, legislation is being introduced to
address threats and potential market failure. Legislation like the IoT Cyber
security Improvement Act in the U.S. will help to establish minimum security
requirements for connected devices.

How do we monetize smart cities?

In the age of IoT and smart cities, data is the new oil
For smart cities to thrive, we need to establish sustainable commerce models
that facilitate the success of all ecosystem players. The software must be
woven into the fabric of IoT solutions so that all ecosystem contributors
benefit, this includes OEMs, developers, integrators, governments, etc.

Each member’s intellectual property needs to be valued and rewarded.

Subscription software capabilities enable new business models that allow each
contributor to extract value from their contribution to the ecosystem.
Subscription-based models offer a way to monetize hardware and software
used to build smart infrastructures and spread out expenses moving away from
a huge one time CAPEX spend.
 Expensive medical equipment like MRI scanners, for example, can be sold
at a cost-per-scan basis rather than as a one-time upfront expense for
hospitals. This creates a win-win situation for hospitals and suppliers
 And one day soon, cities will offer affordable subscriptions to fleets
of vehicles shared between owners who may choose from an array of
custom options. This could radically reduce traffic and optimize traffic
patterns and ride-sharing.

As urban areas continue to expand and grow, smart city technology is expanding
alongside to enhance sustainability and better serve humanity. By leveraging
pervasive connectivity, open data, end-to-end security, and software
monetization solutions, we can align evolving smart city needs for a greatly
improved experience for all partners in the ecosystem.

Major Smart City Technologies

Cities around the world are becoming smarter. They are implementing initiatives
to promote greener and safer urban environments, with cleaner air and water,
better mobility and efficient public services. These initiatives are supported by
smart technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) that provide the technical framework to
implement smart city projects.
Big data and IoT in smart cities
IoT is an essential technology without which smart city initiatives cannot exist.
The “things” of the IoT━devices, sensors, applications━collect the data that
enables the technology solutions to be effective. For example, smart water
meters reporting water quality and usage, alerting the water company of leaks,
or potential contamination.
That said, smart city initiatives need big data analytics to function. The IoT
generates huge datasets that must be analyzed and processed to implement
smart city services. Big data platforms, part of the city ICT infrastructure, have
to sort, analyze and process the data gathered from the IoT.
City governance integrates ICT solutions to interconnect public services, at the
same time engaging communities in local governance, thus promoting
cooperation. One example of this is the Greater London Authority initiative,
where City Hall is using an open, common platform to share data with local
Examples of application of IoT in smart cities include:
 City Lighting━Cities such as London and Quebec are installing smart
street lighting. The intelligent street lights function as wifi hotspots, come
equipped with a surveillance camera, charging outlets for electric cars and
phones, and even measure the air quality. This multitasking street light
works as a sensor and an actuator, providing services that better the
quality of life of the residents while collecting important data about the
 Waste management━cities are applying technologic solutions to achieve
a cleaner environment and reduce waste. For example, Songdo district in
South Korea is reducing noise pollution eliminating garbage trucks
altogether. Buildings have a smart garbage collection station where
residents dispose of the trash bags, separated by organic and
combustible. The station is equipped with sensors that detect when is full.
The trash is automatically sent through high- pressure pipes straight to
the recycling center.
 Connected public transport—Sensors in public transportation send traffic
data to the city transportation management software. They tell you in
real-time how long you have to wait for the bus or train, alerting the
system traffic congestion or delays.
Sensors are at the core of every device in the IoT system. From connected cars
to traffic lights and smart homes, almost every device today has sensors that
gather and send data to the cloud. This interconnectivity is what makes possible
the Internet of Things system.
For example, proximity sensors make possible the development of automated
vehicle systems. Smart cities use sensors to measure a myriad of values from
traffic congestion to pollution levels, water quality, and energy usage.
5G Connectivity
Smart city technologies require connectivity to work. 5G cells provide urban
areas with a strong connection between millions of devices and sensors,
enabling the IoT to work efficiently. Therefore, cities like London are installing
5G cells across the city, using drones to identify available spaces.

Urban planning requires geolocation accuracy and detailed geographic data.
Smart cities rely on technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS) for
transportation management and connected vehicles. The Geographical
Information System (GIS) helps city planners to build an urban digital model with
georeferenced data.
This enables building engineers, for example, to determine the best route for
bicycle lanes or where to locate multimodal transport stations. In the case of
new cities such as Belmont, USA, city planners use geospatial technologies to
design residential and urban areas in a way that promotes walking commuting.

Robots left sci-fi movies to become part of everyday life. The integration of
robotics aims to improve city operations, such as using drones for postal
services. Cities such as Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo are at the forefront of this
trend, introducing humanoids for services such as room service in hotels,
surveillance and to attend the information desk at public offices.
For example, visitors to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are going to get help to
communicate in Japanese from humanoid robotic translators. Meanwhile, in
Dubai, Robocop is not a fantasy anymore, since the city is testing humanoid
police officers with the intention to replace 25 percent of their police force by
The role of big data in smart city projects
Smart cities are by definition, data-driven. Big data and analytics play an
important role in city management, with many a city having now a Chief Data
Officer in the administration. The combination of big data analysis and smart city
solutions help cities improve the management in critical segments such as:
Big data for smart city energy
Major cities are experiencing the challenge of managing power usage
efficiently. The implementation of smart grids allows city officers to analyze
the power consumption in real-time. Using data analytics, they can predict
periods of heavy usage and plan the energy distribution accordingly. Solar
energy plants can install smart sensors to check the panels for maintenance.
Big data for smart city transportation
A smart transport infrastructure uses big data and IoT technologies to provide
residents with access to faster and safer travel across the city. At the same
time, it gives city authorities data about traffic flow allowing them to manage
the transit efficiently.
Usually, a smart city transportation system consists of an Intelligent
Transportation Network (ITN). The network usually includes:
 A transportation management system— that optimizes the traffic flow of
public transportation. Ideally, the system should include all mobility
options, including micro-mobility and sharing transportation modes.
 A vehicle control system—that ensures safety and prevents accidents by
monitoring and alerting about road conditions.
 An electronic timetable and route information system—mostly in the
form of real-time displays at bus stops and train stations. This, combined
with a mobility application, informs consumers of the available
transportation options and the conditions of the routes.
 A single rechargeable fare card—to travel using all available public
transport options. An example of this is the Oyster card in London.
Big data for smart city infrastructure
Smart cities share one characteristic, all use sensor data to improve city
management. Big data can help cities to monitor and manage urban issues
such as waste disposal, transportation, and saving resources. To do that, the
city needs to install sensors in the infrastructure, retrofitting or replacing
outdated infrastructure when necessary.
To transform a city infrastructure in “smart”, the city manager should develop
three layers of “smartness” as follows:
1. The tech base include networks of sensors and connected devices who
gather data
2. The second layer consists of the
deployment of smart
applications that process the
raw data, translating it into
alerts, insight, and actions.
3. The third layer involves widely
adopting the system by the

Benefits of smart city solutions

According to this Mckinsey Global Institute report, for a city to be smart, it
should use technology and data with the purpose of delivering a better quality
of life. What consists of quality of life? While this is a subjective matter, most
city residents agree that a good quality of life should include improvement in
the following areas:
Public safety
Applications using real-time crime mapping, for example, use statistical
analysis to detect crime patterns and identify problematic zones, predicting
the incidence of crime. This allows police forces to reinforce security in these
areas. One example was the trial of HunchLab , a predictive technology
solution in New York City which significantly lowered crime.
Faster commutes
For most city residents, improving the daily commuting time is basic for a good
quality of life. Cities that have smart-mobility applications in place can reduce
commuting time by as much as 20 percent on average. Multimodal mobility
solutions allow passengers to choose between all available transportation
options. This results in lower car usage since residents can opt for the
transportation mode that better suits them at the moment.
Economic prosperity
Smart cities tend to attract technology companies and talent. This, in turn,
attracts venture capital to the cities. Cities like London and New York have
received an influx of investment capital thanks to their smart initiatives.
Greener environment
Environmental concerns are at the core of every smart city strategy. Smart
cities aim to reduce pollution and emissions, through smart urban planning
and transportation management. When people walk and use multimodal
mobility, the result is fewer cars on the streets, reducing emissions. Smart
cities are also characterized by the smart management of their resources.


Smart city technologies and applications help cities to change into a greener,
safer and effectively planned urban environment. It is no surprise then, that the
smart city model is proving successful with over 50 smart cities around the world
using smart technologies to improve the quality of life of its residents.
With more planned smart cities sprouting from America to Asia, the
technologies that form the basis of the model will continue to evolve, with the
technology industry developing newer applications and solutions for building
the cities of the future.
Array of Things
City Environmental Sensors
Created by researchers at Argonne
National Laboratory and the
University of Chicago, Array of Things
is a network of sensor boxes that will
be mounted to lampposts and other
infrastructure around Chicago.
With the city government’s approval,
each “node” in the network will collect
block-by-block environmental data
about temperature, humidity, light, air
quality, and eventually even wind and
precipitation. The nodes will also use a
combination of noise levels, vibrations, and proximity detection of Bluetooth-
and WiFi-enabled devices to get a rough measurement of vehicular and
pedestrian traffic. Captured data will then be reported via cellular connectivity
to an open database.
The researchers are quick to point out that no personal or identifying data will
be collected in the process, and the entire project will go through multiple
levels of public, academic and governmental review to make sure security and
privacy are protected. The hardware and software are all open-source, and will
be released on GitHub once the initial designs are finalized.
With the data the Array of Things generates, researchers, residents, city
planners and other groups will have an unprecedented window into the life of
Chicago’s urban environment. Weather forecasts could be improved based on
the “microclimate” of specific neighbourhoods. City managers could analyze
traffic and weather patterns to better predict which streets need maintenance.
Navigation apps could suggest more- or less-trafficked routes for both cars and
pedestrians, or pick routes based on current air quality measurements.

Outside developers will be free to integrate the data into other apps, alongside
the data already made available to them through the Chicago Data Portal that
currently has 200 datasets and an API.
The first set of nodes will spend the winter on the Argonne National Laboratory
and University of Chicago campuses for reliability testing. Researchers are
working with the city on a pilot project agreement that would place additional
nodes along Michigan Avenue in spring 2015, with the eventual goal of placing
500 or more nodes throughout the city by 2017.

Strawberry Tree: Smart Public Spaces

Serbian startup Strawberry Energy makes solar charging installations for city
parks, school and corporate campuses, and other public spaces. Its products
provide renewable, off-the-grid energy in places that wouldn’t normally support
device charging or wireless connectivity.

The Strawberry Tree is an angular, dendriform sculpture topped by a large,

square solar panel. Sheltered below is a bench that doubles as a mobile charging
station, offering a plethora of cords to suit any type of device. The installation
also provides a WiFi hotspot and records environmental sensing data like
temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide and noise levels. With a large battery
capacity that can provide thousands of quick charges (10 minutes or so) in the
absence of sunlight, Strawberry Tree is designed to operate 24 hours a day, year
round, no matter the weather.
Strawberry Mini and Strawberry Rural are mobile versions of the solar platform.
The Mini is suited for convention centers, festivals and other flexible outdoor
event spaces, with fold-down seats and a touchscreen that can display
customizable content. The Rural strips out the seats and other niceties,
resembling a rollerboard suitcase that lays flat to expose its solar panel to the
Beyond its commitment to renewable energy, Strawberry takes the overall
environmental lifecycle of its products into account. Strawberry Trees are built
with recycled steel, and are designed to be easily disassembled so that 98
percent of the installation can be recycled or reused. This is especially important
for the charging cords, which are clearly the most vulnerable part of the device
to the stresses of weather and human misuse — Strawberry makes an effort to
repair and refurbish damaged cords whenever possible, and they can be easily

Strawberry Trees and Minis have been in the wild for a few years now, mostly in
Serbia, where they’ve reached more than 350,000 users. In April, the company
received $125,000 from Bulgarian venture accelerator Eleven , and earlier this
month it was a winner at the Verge Accelerate competition in San Francisco. In
the wake of that success, Strawberry will continue to exhibit its technology in
the U.S. and has begun negotiations to place Strawberry Trees in cities in
California and other states.

Community Smart Grid AC Control

At the intersection of the Internet of Things and the power industry is the smart
grid — a 21st-century update to our electrical infrastructure that can link
generation, demand, pricing and users in real time. Residents of New York City
can get an early taste of this technology by joining the coolNYC program, which
offers automation products and cash incentives to cut down on the use of air
conditioners when the grid is straining under peak demand.
A collaboration between power supplier Con Edison and ThinkEco, an NYC
startup that makes wirelessly-connected plugs and outlets — called “modlets”
— that can turn appliances on and off through the Internet. The
company’s smartAC kits add a remote thermostat, which senses the ambient air
temperature in a room and communicates with a modlet hooked to the AC unit
to keep the room at a desired temperature.
Residents who join coolNYC receive one of these smartAC kits free of charge, in
exchange for allowing Con Edison to remotely lower the temperature or shut
down the AC when there’s too much demand on the grid — typically for a few
hours, and only on excessively hot days, which occur a few times each summer.
Those who already own a Wi-Fi enabled AC unit (specifically the Friedrich Kühl
and the Frigidaire Cool Connect) can also enroll in the program.
Folks who find other ways to beat the heat will be rewarded through a point
system, which can be redeemed in the form of gift cards.
In addition to helping maintain the reliability of the city’s electrical grid, coolNYC
participants get all of the benefits of a smart, Internet-connected AC unit:
automatic temperature adjustments, remote control through the ThinkEco app,
and a cloud-based dashboard to track energy reductions and savings that will be
reflected in lower energy bills.
Offers Sensor Applications for a Smarter World

Smart Cities

Smart Parking
Monitoring of parking spaces availability in the city.
Structural health
Monitoring of vibrations and material conditions in buildings, bridges and
historical monuments.
Noise Urban Maps
Sound monitoring in bar areas and centric zones in real time.
Smartphone Detection
Detect iPhone and Android devices and in general any device which works with
WiFi or Bluetooth interfaces.
Eletromagnetic Field Levels
Measurement of the energy radiated by cell stations and and WiFi routers.
Traffic Congestion
Monitoring of vehicles and pedestrian levels to optimize driving and walking
Smart Lighting
Intelligent and weather adaptive lighting in street lights.
Waste Management
Detection of rubbish levels in containers to optimize the trash collection
Smart Roads
Intelligent Highways with warning messages and diversions according to
climate conditions and unexpected events like accidents or traffic jams.

Smart Environment

Forest Fire Detection

Monitoring of combustion gases and preemptive fire conditions to define alert
Air Pollution
Control of CO2 emissions of factories, pollution emitted by cars and toxic gases
generated in farms.
Snow Level Monitoring
Snow level measurement to know in real time the quality of ski tracks and
allow security corps avalanche prevention.
Landslide and Avalanche Prevention
Monitoring of soil moisture, vibrations and earth density to detect dangerous
patterns in land conditions.
Earthquake Early Detection
Distributed control in specific places of tremors.

Smart Water

Potable water monitoring

Monitor the quality of tap water in cities.
Chemical leakage detection in rivers
Detect leakages and wastes of factories in rivers.
Swimming pool remote measurement
Control remotely the swimming pool conditions.
Pollution levels in the sea
Control realtime leakages and wastes in the sea.
Water Leakages
Detection of liquid presence outside tanks and pressure variations along pipes.
River Floods
Monitoring of water level variations in rivers, dams and reservoirs.
Smart Agriculture

Wine Quality Enhancing

Monitoring soil moisture and trunk diameter in vineyards to control the
amount of sugar in grapes and grapevine health.
Green Houses
Control micro-climate conditions to maximize the production of fruits and
vegetables and its quality.
Golf Courses
Selective irrigation in dry zones to reduce the water resources required in the
Meteorological Station Network
Study of weather conditions in fields to forecast ice formation, rain, drought,
snow or wind changes.
Control of humidity and temperature levels in alfalfa, hay, straw, etc. to
prevent fungus and other microbial contaminants.

Fall Detection
Assistance for elderly or disabled people living independent.
Medical Fridges
Control of conditions inside freezers storing vaccines, medicines and organic
Sportsmen Care
Vital signs monitoring in high performance centers and fields.
Patients Surveillance
Monitoring of conditions of patients inside hospitals and in old people's home.
Ultraviolet Radiation
Measurement of UV sun rays to warn people not to be exposed in certain
Top 5 Smart Cities in the world

Singapore, one the world financial centres, and arguably the smartest Smart City
right now.
The sovereign city state, is currently leading the world with its integration of
smart technology and has the lofty aim of becoming the world first Smart
Almost every aspect of the city is monitored through sensors provided by private
companies to absorb astonishing amounts of data.
This data is monitored by a program known as Virtual Singapore that enables
authorities to find the most effective ways in which to manage the city.
These systems range from the more typical smart city initiatives such parking
monitors, efficient lighting, and waste disposal, to innovative new systems such
as sensors deployed voluntarily in elderly care facilities that will alert families if
their relatives stop moving for too long. ‘Tele-Health’ is another innovative
system which allows patients to see their doctor via a screen without ever
having to leave the house.
As part of its smart efforts, the city implemented a transportation system called
One Monitoring, a comprehensive portal whereby citizens can access traffic
information collected from surveillance cameras installed on roads and taxi
vehicles using GPS. Additionally, Singapore has also implemented a Parking
Guidance System which provides drivers with real-time information on parking
availability. In 2015, the city also introduced smart bins as part of a smart waste
management programme.
In Singapore, everything revolves around technology: it has a fibreoptic network
the length and width of the island and up to three mobiles for every two
residents, and it has robot hospitals (with human staff and robots), autonomous
taxis (with no driver), and vertical gardens and farms that regulate the
temperature by absorbing and dispersing heat while collecting rainwater.
However, much of this data is personal data, and one of the biggest concerns
regarding Smart City tech is the issue of privacy. How much should we be
expected to give and what will the government do with it?
In recent years Singapore has become more committed to transparency and
recognises the concerns of data mining on such a large scale. The government
has noted and is committed to releasing more data by making the process easier
for citizens, helping the city get ever closer to achieving the worlds Smartest
Smart City accolade.

In recent years Barcelona has been dealing with the problems of an ageing
population and a local recession of its own, yet the government of the Catalonia
capital have consistently found new ways to boost the infrastructure of the city
and create new jobs.
Much like the other cities on this list, Barcelona employs smart parking and
traffic systems to monitor congestion, but the city is also incredibly energy
Barcelona enjoys a much higher level of sunshine than a lot of other developed
cities and takes full advantage of that. In 2000 the Barcelona Solar Thermal
Ordinance required all large buildings to produce their own hot water and in
2006 it became a requirement to use solar water heaters.
It also boasts one of the cleanest public transport systems in the world with it’s
fleet of hybrid buses, as well as it’s smart cycling initiative ‘Biking’ which gives
access to over 400 bike stations through a yearly subscription or via phone
payments. The city has made its waste management system simpler by
deploying pneumatic tubes under city waste bins that eliminate the need for
large disposal trucks.

A number of apps can also be used to assist with day to day living; the Transit
app uses live traffic cams to help navigate along the clearest route and Bustia
Ciutadana acts as a customer service line for the city with which citizens can file
complaints on things like potholes and broken lights. All of this data is then sent
to a central location to help the city in future.
With regards to privacy and transparency of data, Barcelona officials say they
are committed to making the city as transparent and democratic as possible.
The Open Data BCN service is a huge wealth of information that is completely
open to the public and acts to serve as something citizens and business alike can
use to track the economy or locate gaps in services.
Barcelona, continues to expand these systems and plans to introduce more with
the use of Barcelona Urban Lab which allows companies to pilot new smart tech
for the continued betterment of this truly smart city.
As London continues to grow and age, the problems with its infrastructure are
abundantly clear – huge congestion, an antiquated metro system and a huge
emissions problem. Smart tech is helping to curtail these issues move the city in
a more productive direction.
London’s population is estimated to grow by another 1 million people over the
next ten years and is expected to pass the 10 million mark by 2030. If these
problems remain unaddressed then it will cause staggering difficulties for its
Luckily, smart initiatives such as trialling electric bike sharing systems, and 300+
smart parking spaces to monitor parking are starting to have a positive effect.
The Juniper report on smart cities made sure to note that London would have
placed higher in the standings had it not been for significant failings regarding
its renewable energy sources and poor power reductions.
Global Smart City tech investment is estimated to reach $1,135 billion by 2019
according to a Market and Markets report. London currently has plans to be a
part of this by investing in schemes that allow the River Thames to become a
renewable energy source by using it to heat homes reducing the need for
boilers, providing better air quality and reduced power bills for residents.
The city also intends to begin installing solar panels on houses in an effort to
provide an increase in green energy. The power grid will then be managed
digitally in order to maximise it’s efficiency, bringing carbon emissions and utility
costs down city-wide.
These new initiatives and others like them should help keep London as one of
the smartest smart cities for some time.
San Francisco

San Francisco, as one of the tech capitals of the world, is a natural fit for a list on
the world smartest cities.
The 7×7 mile city is home to over 800,000 people and as a result suffers from
heavy congestion, with the many hills for which the city is famed for only
compounding the problem further. Mayor Ed Lee is confident that the
introduction of smart technology is one of the city’s best bets for solving the
Although the city by the bay’s transport system is fairly antiquated its availability
has been revolutionised by smart payment methods for fares, which allow
passengers to pay for their commutes via their smart phones or contactless,
streamlining the process.
Smart Parking has also helped to alleviate the problem, whilst the public
transport system fares quite well, there is still a very high percentage of private
vehicle ownership which the city sees as a priority to reduce. Smart Parking in
San Francisco allows authorities to adjust the prices on parking in certain areas
based on the number of available spaces over a length of time to control flow
and congestion.
San Francisco is also leading the way in many clean energy initiatives; the
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has praised the city,
saying that it has one of the highest concentrations of LEED certified buildings in
the world. A recent law also states that all new buildings are required to have at
least 15% of roof space dedicated to solar panels, a policy which California
lawmaker, Senator Scott Wiener, wishes to become a state wide policy.
The tech boom of the bay area has contributed immensely to its problems and
solutions but the city, known for its progressive ideals, is dedicated to tackling
these problems with smart technology.

Oslo, like many Scandinavian cities, is committed to progressive and cleaner

living but the Norwegian capital’s dedication to smart energy plans has led to it
being hailed as one of the most sustainable smart cities today, firmly earning its
place on this list.
The city currently uses 65,000 smart LED lights linked by 650 processing stations.
These not only reduce energy use but can actually monitor the area to
determine how bright they need to be, in foggy or lighter conditions they are
able to become bright or more dim respectively.
License plate detectors were also introduced in a scheme to calculate accurate
congestion charges as part of its smart traffic system and the city is currently
embarking on construction of an additional 37 miles of cycling road with plans
to ban cars in the city centre all together by 2019.
In terms of energy created, the city uses waste as one of its primary fuels as
opposed to burying it in a landfill, both industrial and standard waste have been
harnessed to this end. Interestingly enough, because the city uses so much of
this waste as fuel, they depleted their entire stockpile in 2013 and authorities
had to import refuse from abroad.
In the future, Oslo has plans to redraw its entire transport network by 2020 and
is aiming to cut fuel emissions by 50%, and by 2030 hopes to 95% climate

China Mobile Streetlighting - Case Study


LED streetlighting is transforming the urban environment and making

maintenance and control of streetlights more straightforward. In the past,
sodium lamps have been expensive to install and maintain, requiring manual
inspection and manual controls. Across China, these traditional lighting methods
are being replaced by intelligent LED lighting. LED lighting is easier to control and
cheaper to operate, and by connecting the lamps to a control centre, dynamic
control can be achieved, removing the need for manual inspections and
China Mobile has a 2G/GPRS powered smart street lighting service already
available. This has been deployed in a number of cities including the city of
Longnan, the city of Bahzou and the Wudang district of the city of Guizhou. The
China Mobile solution can integrate various kinds of sensor into the connected
street lamp, including environmental, traffic and security monitoring, making
full use of the connectivity nodes.
NB-IoT Street Lighting Deployment
China Mobile have begun to research and deploy NB-IoT variants of their
connected street light service to monitor the performance compared to GPRS
and understand how network coverage, power consumption and network
performance is compared to the existing 2G solution. 280 NB-IoT controlled
intelligent streetlamps have been installed by China Telecom in a pre-
commercial trial to monitor their performance. 50 streetlamps have been
deployed in the Yongchuan district of Chongqing City, 120 in Xiajing Province,
and 100 in Xiong. China Mobile has signed a cooperation agreement with the
Yangzhou Gaoyou government to partner with the local streetlamp
manufacturing alliance situated in the Yangzhou hi-tech zone in order to develop
the connected streetlights and NB-IoT module. The China mobile system can
connect either lamps individual or via a controller for loop control over several
light poles. This connects each lamp to the cloud management platform, where
all actions can be completed remotely. In the complex environment of the city,
the NB-IoT network coverage is very good, meaning communications reliability
will be high.
Benefits to the City
NB-IoT has delivered some significant benefits to the cities that are piloting the
NB-IoT street lighting service from Chain Mobile.
Cost Reduction – A quicker, simpler way to manage the streetlights across the
different pilot implementations has led to reduced management and
maintenance costs. The ability to remotely monitor the status of streetlights,
change the lighting up time or lighting intensity means that energy bills are lower
and the cost of manual inspections is much reduced.
Sensor & Data Integration – The integration of sensors into the light pole to
monitor environmental conditions or traffic is simple to achieve, as they are able
to share the same connection and relay data to the same management platform.
This means all the sensor and lighting data can be seen in the same place. In
addition, via API access, this data is accessible to China Mobiles customers, so
that they can integrate the data into their own platforms and provide their own
unique services and analysis on their local environment.
Energy Saving – One of the core benefits of LED bulbs is low energy
consumption. NB-IoT is also optimised for energy consumption, and together
they make a good fit. By building a connected streetlight that has minimal
energy needs, the costs of running lights across a city can be significantly
Outcomes and Lessons Learned
The initial deployment of NB-IoT powered streetlights has been a success, with
all streetlights connected successfully to the NB-IoT network in the cities in
which they were deployed. The NB-IoT coverage needed to connect the
streetlights was equivalent or better to the existing 2G service provided by China
Mobile, and all light poles were able to be connected. NB-IoT is designed to offer
improved coverage over existing networks, and so is able to cover larger areas
of the city, including indoor locations.
Response times to incidents and issues has been greatly improved. In one
instance, when lighting from a whole area was lost due to power supply issues,
the lighting service was able to be restored far more quickly than in the past,
when each light would have had to be visited and restored manually.
In addition to real-time lighting control, multiple sensors can also be supported
on light poles through the NB-IoT connection, with the available bandwidth
proving suitable for transmitting all data and commands to and from the various
sensors that have been installed. This means that the city is in a position to
expand their intelligent city services and begin getting a fuller picture of the
status of various locations as needed.
The pilots deployed in various locations have taught China Mobile that NB-IoT is
a clear contender to connect large numbers of streetlights and sensors in the
future. The use of a standardised technology means that China Mobile are able
to work with a range of partners from local industries in order to bring new
products and services to the market.
NB-IoT has proven to be a very capable upgrade to the existing 2G connectivity
provided by China Mobile for their streetlighting service. It is more energy
efficient, offers better coverage and is straightforward to install and manage. In
the future, NB-IoT will become much more widespread for powering streetlights
and other sensors throughout the city. In the future, China Mobile will be able
to rollout large scale volumes of connections throughout the city, offering a
better customer experience and enabling a new range of services for the
intelligent city.