Technology (Part III) – Smart Cities

What features make a city smart and what are the benefits for its citizens: a glimpse ….

Managing cities is a complicated business where each action or its absence affects the citizen’s life to considerable length. Many needs and service elements of the residents need continuous watch and supervision. Water supply, transport, law & order, and garbage pickup form part of the principal obligations that influence residents’ life each day. Fire and emergency rescue, tax collection, business licensing, construction permits, streetlight, traffic management, and hosting public events constitute a heavy responsibility. Environment protection is another city obligation that covers parks and recreation, preserving green zones and forest canopy, controlled felling of trees, and horticulture.

Competent managers run these functions with the vigorous help of well-trained field personnel. With their individual budget allocation and essential equipment at their disposition, these teams aim to obtain best results out of their labors. However, in a great number of instances, these divisions operate in silos, without effective concert with others so their collective activities have none of the adverse impacts on others’ outcomes. Sometimes, adjacent cities fall prey to each other’s noblest attempts to alleviate their own difficulties.

Smart cities work on an ‘inclusive’ management style, not ‘excluded.’ They involve their residents in effective decision-making way beyond the norm. Instead of a ‘top-down’ style, they work on a ‘bottom-up’ strategy where majority takes part for collective advancement and productivity. The atmosphere of empowerment helps in numerous ways including, but not restricted to, strong productivity, sophisticated management of assets and higher enjoyment of those involved.

Citizen partnership initiatives constitute a fundamental element of smart city government. Responsibility divides between different parties. It calls for a significant burden off the executive’s shoulders and permits greater utilization of faculties for planning, analysis, and evaluation of progress at more frequent intervals. Better strategy contributes to the excellent outcome at a cheaper price and serves everybody. The obstructive red tape policies thus find their abrupt halt.

Armed with up to the moment information on infrastructure across the metropolitan area, the administrators can better handle difficulties. Unexpected emergencies involving a considerable number of communities or plans meet with efficiency. Questions ranging from population density to road network and from communications to any additional important matter can find support in the embedded sensors. These miniature “IoT”-enabled devices offer Real Time Data for highest performance.

Since the preceding data is constantly in digital form, it becomes measurable with custom-designed analytical tools. This precious information enables the smart city to draw its focus away from the traditional graph of urban transportation framework, to the inhabitants’ demands. Such planning will cover its own involvement alongside the demand for additional forms of shared and private transportation. Data related to traffic density can point towards adding more employment-generating businesses within the municipal boundaries to assist taxpayers to avoid long commutes. Availability of parking spaces for private vehicles at public transit nodes can reduce a number of automobiles on the road during peak periods and cut traffic congestions. The city officials will, therefore, create better connective systems.

Convenience, cost-efficiency and public health are other important aspects that smart cities can better handle than the traditional ones. It allows them motivation to preserve the ecosystem by controlling pollution-generating activities. Sensor-driven data goes a long way in establishing land-use policies, preservation of green belts, forest management, and adding more parks and recreational facilities for its residents. Such actions can reduce fossil fuel use and commit to climate protection at the same time.

Smart City initiatives across the globe are dealing with real Time Data to integrate street lighting with vehicular movement. The municipality of Los Angeles in California took a lead in this regard. They installed Smart Street Lights in association with Philips, the lighting giant, and ‘Vodaphone’, one of the principal participants in Cellular Telephony industry. The sensors so employed by this collaboration control light emission per demand and turn off lights when not obliged.

The energy of light conforms to darkness and tends to reduce greenhouse gas discharge. It provides needed breathing space to birds, animals, wildlife, and insects in those particular sectors. Many more cities are now adopting the same technology.

The focus of smart city projects is to improve the life of their inhabitants in as many forms as practicable. They do it with the aid of data and communication, two of the most powerful gifts of ‘Internet of Things.’ The sensors implanted in the pavement offer an up to the minute picture of traffic conditions, accidents, or vehicle breakdown during peak hours. Relevant notification with alternate route map, displayed on the giant digital screens at different points along the route, helps citizens save time, money, and fuel. A tremendous relief, an indirect one, though, occurs in climate protection as hundreds or even thousands of vehicles are not idling in wait.

Sensors in the city water pipes forewarn the officials of a possible rupture. It saves those involved from potential flooding and resulting hardship plus cost.

Smart cities use advanced tools to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to coordinate their performance efforts in a practical way. Although the hurdles encountered by various cities around the globe are not consistently similar, yet methodologies used can help. This is where inter-connectivity plays a crucial role. More your adjoining cities cooperate with your own smart city initiatives, better the result you can expect since shared responsibilities can reduce duplication of investment in multiple spheres.

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Please stay tuned for newer material on this, and other interesting technologies that constitute an important element of my in-depth analysis and writing projects!


Bharat Mathur
Bharat Mathur
WHERE goal setting and systematically achieving each one of them has been the ‘Mantra’, where earning trust by delivering value has been an uncompromising principle and where deeply impactful experiences have made an indelible impression to look directly into the eyes of toughest problems and tackling them head-on has been a major cementing glue in the foundation, Bharat Mathur fits the bill, hands down! Creating value for others, out of the challenges his career in the “C” Suite kept throwing at him left, right and center, Bharat now finds solace in being a ‘Guide by Your Side’ rather than a ‘Sage on the Stage with An Eye on What You Buy’! Past 4 decades of Bharat’s life have been no less eventful than that of anyone else in similar circumstances. However, the way he lived from one challenge to another and stayed focused on his goal is clearly visible as much in his Coaching as in his #1 Best Seller Book: “you Are YOU-nique: Realize Your True Worth”! His next book project tackles ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) from the viewpoint of a layman and helps understand this fast-approaching revolution in simple, easy-to-understand language with live examples: “SMART PHONE + I o T = INCOMPARABLE OPPORTUNITIES” Nurturing a number of successful businesses, mentoring a lot more towards astronomical growth and helping them identify and eradicate trouble spots, Bharat has rightfully earned the nickname: ‘Achiever’ Send him Bouquets or Brickbats, Bharat loves it all!

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  1. Smart cities help the community govern its self really well — and the model can be easily scaled. The danger is that its a system that can be easily used as a form of social engineering.

    For instance, the end game of communism is to eliminate government. And here we have a model that has the potential to do that. I’m certain right now someone, somewhere is attempting to weaponize smart cities.

    • Let us not forget Chris that automobiles have often been called the most dangerous weapon invented by man due to millions of injuries and hundreds of thousands of deaths they cause globally, each year, year after year!

      Does it mean automobiles should be banned for good? I don’t think so…

      I appreciate your far too conservative approach towards Smart Cities but it is a Universal fact that sooner we embrace, the better off we shall all be!

    • Here you go again. Look, it’s fine to disagree. It’s fine to disagree and not know why. I have no problem with that. But why do you make up trash? When did I say I didn’t want smart cities to progress? Why say such a stupid thing that I have a “far too conservative approach”? Why talk trash. Why make stuff up? Sure, you were polite. So since you’re polite it’s okay for you to make up garbage about me and my views? This is either the third or forth time you did this (make crap up) when I replied to your posts and you disagreed with what I wrote.

      Seriously – your metaphor comparing cars to smart cities is very incomplete. In a car, there is one driver driving where that car needs to go. For safety, that driver needs to follow guidelines for driving. They need to be physically capable and mentally capable as well. To keep everyone safe, they need to put each driver through a process that has checks and bounds.

      As far as I know, there is nothing similar for smart cities. There are no studies or data on how smart cities can have checks and bounds for people influencing decisions and those influenced by decisions. Maybe there are, and I just didn’t see them. I don’t know. That’s why I said smart cities are very prone to social engineering because I don’t hear anyone having the discussion on their vulnerabilities. So I used exaggeration to get my point across.

      And what do you? You give me an incomplete metaphor — and politely straw-man me — calling me something that equates to a “right wing nut job”. And before you start writing something along the lines of “Oh no, Chris, you’re just overreacting — reading too much into what was written”… you exhibited similar behavior in my other posts — done it three to four times already. You demonstrate a pattern.

      For someone with a bio like yours, there is no excuse for your rude behavior. Change your bio or change your behavior.

      When I see your other articles come up, I may comment on them. Talk trash again about me — make crap up again about me — I will tell you.

    • Chris, all along I was under the impression that you are a well-mannered, cultured individual. But you proved me wrong.

      Thanks for your outburst, but seriously, no thanks!

      I would rather let you bask in the glory of your imaginative ivory towers that reek of a little coccoon!

      Wishing you well


      P.S. Your threats mean nothing to me because anyone reading your comments will see the distinction loud and clear.

    • Predictable.
      You don’t remember what you posted to me 5 months ago do you? And you have the audacity to post what you just posted?

      Still making up trash. Still making up crap. And it’s all my fault for your poor behavior.

      Like I said. Make stuff up — I will tell you.

    • Grow up man and show some class!

      Stop these cheap threats and do some serious thinking, Chris!

      You can’t do a thing other than pushing yourself deeper down into negativity!

      I have only been noticing your imaginary animosity turning into an excuse for a lame vendetta so I’ll let you enjoy it in all its glory! I would rather use my time and energy in a productive fashion. Hence I choose to put an end to this senseless tirade.