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Smart Cities

Smart Cities

The term “smart” tends to get applied in many different scenarios to describe something that is newer, better, or utilizes more technology, from smartphones to smart economy to smart agriculture. But what exactly is a smart city?

A smart city is a social and economic infrastructure that incorporates Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to provide certain services and find smart solutions for development in urban areas. IoT coupled with information and communication technology (ICT) can improve areas like transportation, accessibility and sustainability, and it does that by improving efficiency, reducing waste, eliminating inconveniences and improving overall quality of life. However, the “smart” tag in this context is not a certain characteristic of the object, but more like a developed and deployed tool that benefits all citizens.

A big part of smart cities IoT applications is collecting a lot of data, ranging from traffic to water and air control. This data is vital in creating smart city solutions that are centered around the citizens themselves. This is best done by installing sensors in various places and developing a network to monitor the amount of cars in particular streets, where the train or bus is, and so on. This can then lead to providing citizens with information on how long they will wait for a bus or cutting costs on not illuminating parts of the city, when nobody is around.

Barcelona

For example, Barcelona is the first city in Spain to be categorized as a smart city. One of the things they have improved significantly with IoT applications is their bus network by analyzing how passengers were really using public transportation. The new network gives its residents access to fast and frequent high quality bus service. This is coupled with the usage of interesting apps to provide more information by using their smartphone cameras and pointing it in a certain direction. In addition, the bus stops are well connected to other transportation networks. This concludes in 95% of journeys requiring only 1 transfer.

More information about Barcelona’s smart city features can be found here.

Antwerp

Antwerp is another great example of a smart city as it explores the role of technology in a collaborative government and has become Europe’s largest smart zone. It has developed a digital platform which is created and managed by the government that offers citizens practical information about their city. This includes news, tools for appointments and other administrative formalities, e-forms for document requests and so on. Existing problems get turned into real projects, like traffic and fleet managements applications. The entire city will be connected with a network of smart sensors and wireless gateways to help planning of travel routes in real time.

More information can be found in this video.

Air quality Monitoring

Zanus Technology is very active in the domain of developing hardware for the smart city solutions. One such project is creating the system for air quality monitoring in cities in Serbia. This project is aimed at developing a network of large number of inexpensive and accurate sensors that are capable of measuring NO2, SO2, CO, CO2, PM10, PM2.5 and sending the measured data to the cloud by using the LoRa infrastructure. Zanus has developed these devices that can be powered either by a battery with the life expectancy of more than 3 years or could be solar powered. More information on this project can be found on this link.

IoT Smart Parking Sensors

Another smart city project that the Zanus team has taken part in is the projectof smart parking. Zanus has developed parking sensors that can detect presence of a car parked above it. These parking sensors are built into the concrete of the parking place, they use LoRa communication infrastructure to communicate to the displays that indicate availability for a group of parking places, but also to the cloud. Sensors are battery powered with the battery life expectancy of more than 5 years. Additionally, a mobile app has been developed that can navigate the user to a free parking space based on the data generated by the sensors from the cloud. More information on this project can be found here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, smart cities are necessary because of the inevitable growth of cities. The everyday requirements of most residents have increased significantly, and these requirements need to be met in a systematic and organized fashion. IoT and ICT are great tools to gather the necessary data and improve the quality of life for everybody.