The technological, economic and social stakes around smart cities are interesting topics for the smart technology industries. In a world where the demography is exploding, many municipalities are exploring the “Smart City” concept as a way to improve themselves and become better places to live, work, and grow. The CARTES Exhibition, set for Nov. 6-8 in Paris, will emphasize smart-cities projects. The following is CARTES take on the “Smart City” concept:
More than half the world’s population lives in cities, and the percentage is growing rapidly. According to McKinsey, in China alone, 350 million people – more than the current population of the United States – will move to cities by 2030. To accommodate the millions migrating to cities in search of the middle-class urban life, Brazil, China, and India are raising new cities from dust. Meanwhile, countries like Sweden, UAE, Russia, South Korea and Portugal also are building new cities as magnets for talent and innovation, and the economic growth that they bring. Cities, not nations, now compete for people, ideas and capital and, increasingly, a city’s “smartness” is becoming a major selling point.
Many municipalities around the world are exploring the “Smart City” concept as a way to make themselves better places to live, work and grow. Smart City solutions, therefore, are leveraging IT not only to deliver higher-quality citizen services more efficiently, but also to effect behavior change in government workers, city businesses and citizens so cities can develop more sustainably.
A city becomes “smart” when all parts of its infrastructure and government services are digitally connected and optimized. The city’s intelligent infrastructure is powered by three key technologies that share environment and citizen data constantly: sensors, the cloud and smart interfaces. Key characteristics of smart cities, therefore, are: smart economy, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, smart living and smart people.
In a smart city, the usage is centered on a networked infrastructure to improve economic and political efficiency and enable social, cultural and urban development. Infrastructure means business services, housing, leisure and lifestyle services linked to ICTs, i.e., mobile and fixed phones, satellite TVs, computer networks, e-commerce and Internet services, thus bringing the idea of a wired city as the main development model and of connectivity as a self-fertilizing source of growth.
A $40 Billion Market In 2016
There is a huge and diverse market for ICT-based smart city initiatives and a wide range of solutions are mushrooming around the world. This trend is general as modernization is a common obligation for cities dealing with complex issues such as population growth, climate change, and resource limitations.
According to ABI Research, the global market for technologies that feed into and support Smart City programs and projects are expected to grow, on a global basis, from $8 billion in 2010 to nearly $40 billion in 2016, accounting for $116 billion in cumulative spending during that period.
Different studies, performed by major consultancy companies share the same conclusion: Smart Cities will have a brilliant future, especially with application opportunities generated by NFC-based exchanges and transactions.
A Fertile Field
Technologies are available for implementing smart city solutions: pervasive wireless and broadband connections, advanced analytics software, intelligent sensors. The profusion of mobile devices and the use of social media can be integrated by vendors to provide solutions for city governments. More specifically, wireless sensor networks are the major component supporting the creation of smart cities. Thanks to a distributed network of intelligent sensor nodes, a wide range of parameters can be measured for a more efficient management of the city and data are delivered wirelessly and in real time to the citizens or the appropriate authorities.
All communication-based technology (NFC, RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) are mobilized in Smart City projects and programs, especially for maximizing transportation efficiency, reducing traffic delays, cutting fuel waste and carbon emissions. The main services delivered within the city are: public safety, transportation (connected cars and public transports), utilities (electricity, water and gas distribution) and healthcare.
Among a wide range of initiatives, some emblematic smart cities “under progress” are:
>> The ‘U-City’ (Ubiquitous-City) model in Korea, enabling such urban functions and services as e-Administration, traffic, crime prevention, fire prevention and home-networking, with major experiments in the “new Songdo City” to be launched in 2014.
>> Cityzi, the most emblematic French initiative featuring smart cities, launched in Nice in May 2010. Based on a combination of smartphones and NFC technology, the Citizy application is gathering telcos, banks, transit-system companies and a wide range of service providers.
>> The ‘Amsmarterdam city program in the Netherlands, addressing mainly sustainability in living and mobility.
For more information on the CARTES Exhibition, click here