To understand the need for smart city solution must be aware of the fact that cities of the future are connected, digital and intelligent. It is no longer possible to manage the city, create growth, provide prosperity and make citizens happy without having exact real time information as basis for better decisions. This concept enables cities a smarter way to meet the challenges they face every day, save resources and energy reducing overall city ecological footprint in terms of CO2 emission and increase the quality of life for citizens.
Such modern approach is made possible by using a variety of technologies and capabilities, such as IoT (Internet of Things), big data analytics, smart devices and cloud services. When it comes to specific concept scenarios, following major modules can be found within the Smart City solution:
- Smart Lighting
- Smart Parking
- Smart Air Quality
Smart Lightning ‐ Public city lightning is one area where modernization brings immediate benefits. Cities need to become more livable by providing citizens and tourists a welcoming, safe, efficient and functioning environment. Smart Street Lighting facilitates efficient resource management by managing the street light infrastructure for the cities. Each lightning object can be controlled individually – setting dimming percentage for different time periods, for different physical locations, tracking individual electricity consumption and health of LED bulb – everything is possible. For a city the energy consumption of street lighting is a huge cost factor. With changing the ‚classical’ bulbs to LED the energy consumption can be reduced by up to 40‐50%. With the use of smart street lighting, a further reduction of energy consumption (approx. 10‐20%) can be obtained. This results in a total cost savings potential of up to 70%. In addition, it reduces CO2 emissions which helps to lessen the cities’ carbon footprint. It can also help decrease light pollution which is a growing problem.
Smart Parking ‐ In many cities, finding a free parking place at destination is always a big problem. With Smart Parking, citizens have exact information about parking availability and can be navigated to selected one. On other hand, cities and municipalities, public or private space operators can manage their parking spaces more easily. Parking sensors make parking spaces digital and intelligent, ensuring efficient management and monitoring.
It is estimated that up to 30% of traffic in a city is caused by drivers looking for a parking space. Any parking requirement produces up to 1.3 kg of CO2 emissions. Smart parking solution helps drivers save time finding a free parking space, reduces pollution and reduces the risk of citizens committing parking violations. Mobile application provides data on empty / occupied parking spaces in real time. Users are informed about the availability of parking spaces in the desired area, receive instructions on how to access the nearest vacancy, as well as pay for the parking service. In addition it helps the city manage all the challenges associated with running an effective public parking service. Urbanization can provide opportunities for both sustainable development and economical growth. However, rapid expansion of our cities can also lead to a greater demand and over utilization of available and essential resources. Cities are not only the main cause but also the main victims of increased and intensified emissions such as exhaust gases and particulate matter from burning of fossil fuels. Air pollution in cities is one of the primary factors that cause many hazardous effects on human beings. According to research made by the European Environment Agency (Air Quality in Europe 2016 report), over 500,000 premature deaths per year in Europe as the result of air pollution. The yearly consequential costs of air pollution in the EU in relation to transportation amounts to around €66.7 billion per year. Hourly measurement of fine particles (PM‐1, PM‐2.5 & PM‐10) and other gases like NO2, O3 and CO2 is required in order to understand the distribution, volumes and changes of the pollutants and identify any hot‐spots. So to check if local policies are working and to analyse root causes of bad air quality we need to measure and monitor it and Smart Air Quality does just that.
With continuous monitoring measures and changes can be implemented in or improve the overall air quality. By having exact air quality index (calculated from corresponding particle and gas measurements), citizens can be informed and appropriate activities can be taken. Sensors on the air station measure particulate matter and gas concentrations for key air quality indicators, as defined by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directives. Air Quality Index (AQI) provides information on the general air quality at a given time and at a given measurement location. The online platform which collect, display and analyse data supports other awareness‐raising and communication activities, ultimately helping society to understand how their behavior affects air quality, enable short and long term Using the Smart City innovative solution the local competent authority identifies projects and programmes that can contribute to tackle the air pollution as an environmental, governance and social issue thus achieving bigger impact and adding value. However, we have to keep in mind the complexity of city administration and related public services, as dynamic interplay of various elements and forces – split of responsibilities between different entities, laws and regulations, changes in planning and execution, documented or undocumented workflow processes, with pressure to be efficient while making services easier for citizens. For this reason, awareness and knowledge of new smart city technologies through the smart education process is the first big step in preparing a smart city strategy. Having said this, in the short to medium term, the actual work is to implement real‐life solutions which help city administrations and benefit citizens in their daily lives. Developing a clear vision and starting with small steps will be the way forward.
About the Author
Vladimir Dokaza has over 20 years of international experience with a demonstrated history of working in the Smart Cities, Big Data, IoT, Cloud, Data Centers, Business Intelligence platforms. As Technology Consultant works with clients to help them transform the way they use technology. His strength lies in a deep understanding of Information and Communications Technology and modern market needs.