The Trend of Urbanization and Smart Cities

This century is defined by urbanization with the United Nations predicting that six out of every 10 people will live in a city by 2030 increasing to seven out of 10 people by 2050. Based on Frost & Sullivan’s ‘2013 Search for Growth’ survey for the global energy and environment market, urbanization and smart cities is identified as a main growth trend for 2014 and beyond. Estimated spending on smart cities support this trend with Pike Research predicting global Investment in smart city technology infrastructure to total $108 billion by 2020,

The Smart City concept as the next stage in urbanization has risen to the top of policy maker’s agendas. “This is going to be a big year for Smart Cities. Cities will move more quickly from research and evaluation to investment in pilots and the organizational structures to support Smart City initiatives,” said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, Research Director, IDC Government Insights Smart Cities Strategies. “We predict that in 2014 there will be a lot of partnership activity as vendors define their Smart City offerings and strive to gain customer mindshare.” This month’s announcement of the Smart City Global Strategic Alliance of CISCO and city solutions company AGT International, is an example of the type of partnership activity to expect.

The aims of establishing smart cities include improving quality of life for residents, increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs, attracting more business and minimizing environmental impacts. This is achieved by better use of existing resources through improved monitoring, controls and coordination of services and infrastructure. Technologies that will enhance a city’s intelligence and connectedness include sensor networks, smart meters, fibre optic and wireless communication networks, data analytics software and other hardware and software components.

Wireless sensor networks are a key component in the creation of smart cities. For efficient city management, a distributed network of intelligent sensor nodes can measure various parameters from noise, temperature, ambient light levels and carbon monoxide concentration, to the availability and location of parking spaces.  Identified as urban “test beds” of smart technologies, Singapore, Barcelona and Nice are using connected sensors extensively for improved parking, lighting and environmental monitoring. Australia is also at a point where investments are being made into public transport and infrastructure and where future plans and investments consider future city development using ICT, smart infrastructure, sustainable materials and strategic planning.

Smart Cities employ effective monitoring, detection and mapping of a range of inputs including:

  • Environmental noise  – reducing the physiological and psychological effects on people’s interrupted sleep, rest, study and communication.
  • Atmospheric pollution – whether in the form of gases such as CO2 and NO2 or
    dust – threatens the health of urban dwellers by causing respiratory diseases.
  • Structural health and street lighting  – ensuring buildings, bridges, roads and other major structures are sound and the provision of intelligent and adaptive street lighting.
  • Traffic and parking management – minimizing emissions and traffic congestion – the aim of improved traffic flow achieved by establishing Intelligent roads with warning messages and diversions according to climate conditions and unexpected events like accidents or traffic jams.

Increasing global urbanization highlights the necessity of planning smarter cities with the implementation of smart cities applications to deliver effective outcomes.  Libelium’s Smart Cities platform and sensors are now available in Australia and New Zealand from M2M Connectivity. This Smart Cities platform enables system integrators to deploy a heterogeneous wireless sensor network with a combination of sensor boards for Smart City applications. Libelium provides a complete technology for deploying all the services required by a Smart City using the same modular platform based on Waspmote wireless sensing technology.

M2M Connectivity will be showcasing Libelium sensor network products at Connect 2014 in March.  For further details and free exhibition entry, please go to http://www.m2mconnectivity.com.au/about-us/events-and-trade-shows/connect-2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s