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Introduction to Smart Cities

By Salah M. Alajeel

In the recent past, there has been a rise in interest in cities’ betterment as we know them. Cities have tried to improve what they offer; Living conditions, traffic management, sewer systems, and parking systems. This has given birth to the idea of smart cities. Smart cities use various Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and sensors to collect and process data to provide useful information to users and service delivery organizations.

Characteristics Of Smart Cities

For a city to be categorized as a smart city, it has to meet the following conditions

  1. It has to use its infrastructure to support its socio-economic development efficiently.
  2. It has to create avenues for communication between locals and leadership.
  3. It has to better respond to problems and environmental variables.
  4. It has to evolve to meet the changing needs of the people.

Goals of Smart Cities

  1. Finding creative ways of understanding the technologies used in cities.
  2. Finding better ways of collecting information in urban centers.
  3. Creating systems that effectively merge the collected data and make use of it.
  4. Creating better technologies for spreading data and information.
  5. Finding better ways of governance for more effective use of resources.
  6. Solving issues that arise relating to the technologies in use.

Challenges Facing Smart Cities

  1. Funding

Most smart cities do not get enough funding to run smoothly. In most cases, some projects have to be shelved for a while. This lack of sufficient funding sometimes derails the advancement of the development of some smart cities. When it doesn’t derail the process, it slows the progress down considerably.

  1. Professionalism

Smart city projects have to be implemented by professionals, and professionals are hard to come by.

  1. Cyber Security

The technological aspect of smart cities opens up a new set of vulnerabilities. The advancement of technology means that cities are now vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Unwanted access to data about cities could lead to delay in service delivery.

  1. Network Connection

Smart cities rely on the transmission of data and information for smooth operations. Unreliable network connectivity can hinder the day to day running of a city. This can lead to slower service delivery.

  1. Reliability

Most of the technologies that need to be implemented for the successful running of a smart city are still in the early testing stages. This means that some of them can fail, leaving the cities dysfunctional.

Advantages Of Smart Cities

  1. Smart cities are safer than in traditional towns.
  2. Smart cities provide improvements to transport systems
  3. Smart cities provide for smoother service delivery
  4. Smart cities offer new and improved opportunities for economic development.
  5. Smart cities offer detailed reports to help identify infrastructures that need improvement long before failure can occur.
  6. The vast array of collected data helps in disaster preparedness, and when disaster strikes, the data provides priceless information that helps in disaster management.

Disadvantages Of Smart Cities

Reduced privacy due to the sharing of data.

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