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Smart Cities, what are they made of?

What makes a city smart?

What Smart Cities look like and how IoT is utilized 

Current trends in the rise of populations and urbanization means, there is a bigger possibility that many cities may turn to technology and advanced networks to help them manage resource constraints. In particular, cities could increasingly turn to a section of the Internet of Things (IoT) known as smart city solutions. In the following article, we will look at how smart cities are defined, the technologies they entail, examples of smart cities, and how these technologies can benefit the city inhabitants.

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. Tying in with IoT, a  big part of this ICT framework is an intelligent network of connected objects and machines transmitting 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 that improve quality of life.

To put it simply, smart cities use IoT devices such as connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyze data. The cities then use this data to improve infrastructure, public utilities and services, and more. Communities can improve energy distribution, streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion, and even improve air quality with help from the IoT.

Smart City Technologies

Smart city devices aim to make everyday tasks uncomplicated and more efficient while time-consuming hiccups related to public safety, traffic, and environmental issues. Below we look at some of the most popular smart city technologies:

Smart utility meters

One of the top IoT devices among utility companies is the smart meter. These devices attach to buildings and connect to a smart energy grid, allowing the utility companies to manage energy flow more effectively. Smart meters also allow users to track their energy consumption—leaving a significant financial impact.

Smart transportation

Connected vehicles and smart cars have made their way to the forefront of public transit. With efforts already showing an effect on the transport industry. For transportation, smart city devices can ease traffic pain points and prevent car-related accidents and deaths. Insider Intelligence voice search and gather location data capabilities that are attractive to drivers, and as smart applications continue to evolve and grow, so will the adoption of smart transit. 

Smart waste management solutions

waste management is costly, inefficient, and can cause traffic buildup. Smart waste management solutions can alleviate some of these pain points by monitoring how full trash cans are at a given point and send that data to waste management companies. Thus, providing the best waste pick-up routes. Some smart waste bins, such as the EvoEco, have the ability to tell users which items should be composted or recycled and can even show messages that share how much an organization can save by recycling, which further encourages people to recycle.

Smart City Examples

Europe is leading the world in smart city development. The EU has been proactive in encouraging its member nations to develop smart cities, and the European Commission has allocated 365 million euros for this purpose. 

In comparison, North America has fallen behind—even though it is the most urbanized region in the world. Still, there are plenty of smart city projects up and running in major North American cities, specifically with regard to public safety and traffic.


French firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures developed a proposal for multiple high-rise buildings with positive energy output (BEPOS). This plan followed the Climate Energy Plan of Paris aimed at reducing 75% of the greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 


In 2014 Westminster, London deployed a smart parking project, SmartPark, that allows drivers to quickly locate parking spaces and remove the need for lengthy searches for an open spot. This, in turn, alleviates urban traffic congestion.

New York City  

New York City is piloting a connected vehicle (CTV) project to help NYC eliminate traffic-related deaths and reduce crash-related injuries and damage to both the vehicles and infrastructure. The CTV infrastructure is primarily focused on safety applications. Relying on vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and infrastructure-to-pedestrian communications. 

San Francisco 

San Francisco implemented a pilot program, the Smart Traffic Signals Pilot, that will explore the use of Multimodal Intelligent Traffic Signal Systems, Dedicated Short Range Communication, Transit Signal Priority, and Emergency Vehicle Preemption technology to improve safety, reduce collisions, and decrease emergency vehicle response times.

The Future of the IoT and Smart Cities

The potential of smart cities is nearly limitless. The growth of these cities should only accelerate in the coming years. But this is not the only area that the IoT will profoundly change in the near future. 

Learn more:

If you would like to hear more about how emerging IoT technologies, and how IoT is used in smart cities. Speak to one of the team members at Davra to explain what we can offer. Click here to contact Davra today! 

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