These days, smart technology is very popular. It seems to have become a requirement for all of our devices to have Wi-Fi, along with a host of other technological capabilities. But what if you applied this concept to an entire city? Enter Smart Cities, the next step in large-scale technological innovation.
Real world cities are taking a step to become smart, but which cities are considered the smartest right now?
1. Hong Kong
Hong Kong has been doing smart developments for several years now. In 2017, the city released a blueprint that will be used to make the city progressively smarter and smarter. This scheme included 76 different initiatives, including “smart mobility”, “smart life”, “smart environment”, “smart people”, “smart government” and “smart economy”. These initiatives aim to create a city that is more sustainable, well connected and generally enjoyable to live in.
One particularly technology-focused element of this scheme is the “Smart Living” initiative, which includes providing free Wi-Fi to the public in all regions and promoting digital payment methods, such as via a smartphone using NFC. Moreover, improving health care and support for the elderly and individuals with disabilities is also a goal.
Alongside this comes the “Smart Mobility” initiative, which focuses on a “smart” transportation system that includes an all-in-one app called “HKeMobility”. This application can be used to find walking paths in all areas of the city. In addition, this initiative includes the installation of 1,200 traffic detectors that provide real-time traffic information 24/7. Overall, it looks like this city will become very efficient in the next decade or so.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is not considered a major city globally, like New York or Hong Kong, but it is still developing its smart capabilities. One of the main goals here is to improve the lives of civilians by making the city more sustainable and connected.
The main technology used to achieve this goal is the Internet of Things (IoT). This includes devices or other objects with software, sensors, and other technological features that form a network with other devices to communicate (usually through an Internet connection). This technology is a popular option in smart cities and is used in Oslo to manage key areas of the city, such as waste management, urban mobility and water management.
There are also other areas being developed in Oslo. For example, electric buses are also focused on, industry development and zero-emission construction sites.
London, the capital of England, is the busiest in all of the UK, so it’s no surprise that you’re getting smarter. There are several projects associated with this step towards intelligence, including Talk London, an online community that allows Londoners to express their opinions on various plans and policies related to the city.
In addition, the Connected London project aims to improve digital connectivity across the city. Part of this project involves work on a fully connected London fiber network, which is designed to provide 400km of interconnected underground tunnels, 500km of roads, and 80,000 pieces of street furniture.
Furthermore, a city connection map can now be used to see which areas offer the best and worst broadband coverage in London. An ongoing focus on sustainable energy, low-carbon accelerators, and the implementation of electric vehicles is also taking the city forward toward a smart future.
The rapid development of Dubai over the past few decades has been nothing short of astonishing. Now, the city is being moved to the smart age. Some smart services have already been launched, including the Smart Nol Card, which enables civilians to use public transportation via NFC payment.
The city has also launched the DubaiNow app, which allows civilians to pay for public services, including healthcare, education, accommodation and transportation. A smart car rental service has also been implemented in Dubai, allowing individuals to rent private cars using two different smartphone apps: Udrive and Ekar.
Another big project launched by Dubai is the Autonomous Transportation Strategy. This includes making 25% of city transportation automated by 2030. One can’t help but wonder what that would look like!
Known for its rich history and culture, Amsterdam is now well known for its clever abilities. This includes open source city data, which anyone can access at any time and add relevant data when desired. This transparent system is great for keeping civilians informed and aware of the ins and outs of the city.
Furthermore, Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole have the fastest internet speed in all of the European Union. This makes connectivity ultra-fast and helps in certain areas of the Amsterdam Smart City Initiative, or ASC. ASC began in 2009 and includes a long list of different projects focused on improving the city in general, including cleaning up rivers, managing the road network, and improving lives for residents.
We hope that this improved quality of life will be provided by the Wyzer app in the city. The app allows civilians to explore the city’s unconventional trails while discovering the “hidden gems” that the app has highlighted. The introduction of the Amsterdam Social Glass project also allows for the collection of real-time urban data analytics and forecasts, which provide key insights into audience attitudes and conditions. Very insightful stuff!
The lively Spanish city of Barcelona is known for its great food and great scenery. But who would have thought that this historic city would make clever innovations? Well, get ready to see Barcelona in a more modern light. It was, in fact, the first ever European city to implement smart technologies.
Barcelona, like Oslo, is taking advantage of the Internet of Things to make technological developments, particularly in the field of waste management. For example, IoT is implemented in city garbage cans, which can notify the interested party how much waste has been disposed of at any given moment. Other facilities such as smart street lights, natural disaster early warning systems and smart parcel lockers will also be introduced to the city on a large scale.
Other technologies focused on the environment will also be implemented across the city, including air quality monitors, car-sharing services, and home energy consumption tracking systems. There will even be tracking of water consumption based on behavior. Beautiful futuristic stuff.
7. New York
Yes, as you might expect, one of the world’s most famous cities is making strides toward smart innovation. The integration of smart lighting, smart water meters, and smart waste management is quickly making this city among the smartest. For example, the BigBelly smart trash can be called a trash compactor and a wireless sensor that keeps track of how much trash is disposed of in each can.
Furthermore, the city is focusing on air quality monitoring, given the air pollution problems it is currently facing. Other environmental initiatives have also been established, including the Clean Neighborhood Challenge and renewable energy projects that will allow the city to produce more environmentally friendly fuels.
Singapore: Honorable mention
Although Singapore is not technically a city, it is one of the most technologically advanced locations in the world. Its Smart Mobility 2020 initiative focuses on developing an intelligent transportation system. This is paired with the Travel Smart programme, which aims to increase the efficiency of deploying peak travel densities and demand on Singapore’s rail network by encouraging citizens to think more carefully about when and how they travel.
In addition, Singapore has launched the Smart Nation app, allowing residents to request self-driving vehicle services, receive alerts about air quality and temperature, and report municipality issues. The power of the people!
Someday, every city may be smart in its own right
With the increasing prevalence of smart technologies in locations around the world, there is no doubt that more and more governments will decide to take smart initiatives and improve levels of sustainability, connectivity and the lives of citizens. What an exciting idea!
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