Since the birth of the industrial revolution, cities have been key drivers of economic growth. The revolution brought prosperity and development, but it was not always the best when it comes to human health and efficiency.
With the arrival of the digital revolution, technology has been enhancing lives and delivering innovation through data. The key benefit to building what we now call “smart cities” is efficiency and sustainability.
Smart cities will drive high economic performers who will seek out and take advantage of opportunities brought by technology. However, the downside of this will be high energy consumption, congestion, and waste. As a result, smart cities need to be built to be sustainable and highly efficient.
According to Juniper Research, the following are the top-five smart cities as of today:
- New York
However, with the Internet of Things (IoT) taking center stage, this list is going to change dramatically over the next few years. Although cities like New York and London are great economic hubs, they’re not exactly “smart” in terms of today’s definition of the word.
Tech giants like Cisco and Samsung are building and testing smart city hubs that will be more efficient and more intelligent. They will essentially define what an IoT powered “smart city” will be in the future.
Samsung & SK Telecom in Daegu
SK Telecom (SKT) and Samsung have teamed up to turn the manufacturing city of Daegu into an IoT test hub. This smart city will be South Korea’s first and will be ready to accommodate mhealth and connected cars.
The new modern infrastructure will have regulation-free zones and the communications infrastructure will incorporate Cloud computing. Further, the new infrastructure will be able to handle the following:
- High loads of data
- Smart energy systems of public utilities
- Storage for electric cars/autonomous vehicles
Samsung has also made its IP address available for local companies to start experimenting and build their own smart solutions that will hopefully boost South Korea’s economy.
Further, SKT will also have expanded coverage in the city by next month. As a result, it will help start-ups in the area to benefit from the new smart city infrastructure to drive this IoT hub forward.
Cisco in Berlin
Cisco has pumped in a lot of money to help the German capital become a leading smart city. The company is already building the city’s mHealth platform and the general infrastructure that’s needed to support it.
Cisco is expected to invest approximately $500 million in the Deutschland Digital initiative over three years to further build infrastructure around the nation to test communications technology like 5G networks.
A smart Berlin will not only enhance the lives of its citizens, but it will also boost the German economy. As you would have already noticed, smart cities and growing the national economy is a common theme regardless of the location.
The enhanced infrastructure will also include traffic information, weather and environmental data, and police and fire communications.
Hagihon in Jerusalem
The Holy Land is also becoming smart through the enhancement of public utilities, namely water. The main public water company, Hagihon, has received massive grants to develop partnerships locally and globally to end disruptions in water supply.
Israel is world renowned for their desalination operation where most of the country’s water supply is recycled. However, it’s still a major undertaking to update the current infrastructure and manage outdated pipelines in the city. So it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the months to come.
Further, three Israeli companies Magos, GreenIQ, and Pixtier have won the chance to develop smart and secure engineering systems and build a smart city called Croatá Laguna Ecopark in Brazil.
Vodafone & IBM in Seville
Vodafone and IBM will team up to make cities across Spain smarter and more efficient. This initiative hopes to address issues such as emergency management, energy, education, water, mobility, building design, tourism, healthcare, and commerce.
In Seville, Vodafone will operate a development and control center that will focus on creating smart city solutions. The new center will enable municipalities to provide enhanced services to citizens. Further, the company also hopes that this in turn will make Andalusia the center of innovation in Spain.
Spain has been working on making its cities smarter for some time now. The port city of Santander is already a smart city where there is no excessive garbage overflowing and there’re always places to park. Further, the grass is watered only when needed. All this is possible because of the abundance of sensors within the city.
The concept of “smart cities” is very close to becoming a reality. Key innovators like Cisco and Samsung are driving the development and evolution of smart cities, but we have yet to see if it’s sustainable. In the end, it will be smart cities that drive IoT forward, so seeing so much investment in building smart cities is a good sign for what’s to come in the near future.