How smart cities are poised to transform our lives for the better

Must read

Smart cities have the potential to fundamentally change our lives. This potential will only continue to develop and create a brighter future for all.

In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.

What is the exact definition of a smart city? The specifics are constantly evolving, but one key component makes a smart city different from the cities we’re familiar with: Smart cities use information and technologies to create enhanced services, drive economic development and improve the lives of citizens, all with an emphasis on sustainability. 

Urban populations have been growing rapidly, with over 56 percent of the world’s population moving into cities. This is an impressive stat, but it won’t stay this way over the next two decades. By 2050, the urban population will likely double, which makes smart cities a future-forward measure toward supporting urban living.

Smart cities that leverage cutting-edge technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics to streamline processes and make better decisions receive significant advantages. Now, let’s talk more about how smart cities can potentially transform our lives. 

Improved efficiency and sustainability

Smart cities use technology to improve the efficiency of their systems and help reduce waste. For instance, they can use sensors to detect when garbage bins are full and need to be emptied, which reduces the frequency of garbage truck pickups and saves fuel. Similarly, they can use IoT sensors to monitor energy consumption and optimize usage, reducing energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Another example is the use of smart traffic management systems. Cities can use AI-powered traffic management systems to analyze real-time traffic data and optimize traffic flow. This reduces congestion, which in turn reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

Smart cities can also use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to power their infrastructure. These sustainable solutions not only help the environment but also save money in the long run.

Improved safety and security

Smarter cities will be safer cities. This is, in part, due to the implementation of innovative technologies and partnerships between public and private entities that are created to reduce crime. License plate recognition, body cameras, interconnected crime centers and next-generation 911 capabilities are all great examples of tools that can give law enforcement a significant advantage in combating criminal activity.

These advancements make it possible for law enforcement to respond quickly and efficiently to emergency situations and gather evidence more accurately.

Other examples of technology that increase safety and security measures include AI-powered cameras that can monitor public spaces and identify potential threats, such as unattended bags or suspicious behavior, and smart street lighting, which uses sensors to detect when people are nearby and adjust their brightness accordingly. 

Improved quality of life

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of smart cities is their life-enhancing qualities. IoT sensors monitor air quality and adjust ventilation systems accordingly to help reduce exposure to air pollution, which can cause respiratory problems and other health issues.

Smart cities can also use technology to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, like building smart sidewalks with tactile paving and guidelines that help people with visual impairments navigate their way around the city.

Another way that smart cities can improve the quality of life is by providing personalized services. By collecting and analyzing data, smart cities can tailor services to meet individual needs. For example, they can provide personalized public transportation schedules based on a person’s commuting habits. 

Improved economic growth and job creation

Investing in smart city technology can have a significant multiplier effect on economic growth. A recent report suggests that the multiplier effect can be as high as 10 times, which means that the adoption of smart city technologies can result in a massive expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Large private sector companies are also partnering with local governments to invest millions of dollars in smart city infrastructure and initiatives, indicating the importance of smart city investments in enhancing cities’ regional and global competitiveness. Smart city investments can also attract new residents and businesses to an area.

Challenges and risks

While smart cities offer many benefits, they also come with challenges and risks. One of the biggest challenges is the cost of implementing and maintaining the technology required for smart cities. These technologies can be expensive and require significant investment.

Additionally, there are concerns about privacy and security. With so much data being collected and analyzed, there is a risk that personal information could be compromised. Smart cities must have strong security measures in place to protect their residents’ data.

Another challenge is ensuring that the benefits of smart cities are distributed equitably. It is important to ensure that all residents, regardless of income or background, have access to the benefits that smart cities offer. This requires careful planning and consideration of the needs of all residents.

Smart cities have the potential to transform our lives for the better, and this potential will only continue to develop, which creates a better, brighter future for all.

Avi Philipson is the CEO of Graph Group, an investment firm committed to building value for their partners, investors and companies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

More articles

Latest article