If you’ve been keeping up with digital trends and news, you’ve no doubt heard the term “smart city” thrown around a few times. Despite the benefits a potential smart city may provide, what actually makes one?

In general, making a smart city involves one key principle: making the city more self-aware, automated, and efficient. Now, the ways that smart cities vary are in how they accomplish this broad goal. The specifics may vary, but in general, smart cities use the following strategies:

  • Internet of Things (AKA the IoT).
  • 5G and Fiber networks (fast internet for the people).
  • Digital literacy (for both the managers of the city and the inhabitants).
  • AI and machine learning (digital simulations and pattern recognition).

Of course, some smart cities which have specific problems or scenarios may use completely different strategies. However, regardless of the city, you will undoubtedly find some elements listed above.


Internet of Things 

The IoT is the idea of numerous devices connected to the web. They can connect to some kind of intranet between devices on a single network. Present examples include security cameras that use Wi-Fi to connect to an app on your phone. They may stream data to your phone when movement is detected, or create an alarm. The same network devices could also contact authorities, turn on floodlights, engage emergency door locks, and so on.

An example could be a garbage bin that senses how full it is. When it reaches 80% full, it could send a message to the garbage pick up system that it needs to be emptied ASAP.

Read more about the IoT on IBM’s website.

Fast internet (5G and fiber networks)

The whole system of the smart city relies on fast, reliable internet. Without fiber and 5G connectivity, the IoT, machine learning, and digital connectivity, it won’t be a smart city. Essentially, it’s important that a smart city has lightning fast connectivity, (à la 5G), and systems in case the first plan fails. In the case that a bad storm prevents wireless internet from working, fiber connections straight to houses from underground wiring will still provide internet. Internet is the backbone of the smart city, and it needs to be firing at all times. Commercial contractors of the future will need to have a great focus on laying fiber optic cables.

There are various types of connectivity available. They provide different benefits for smart cities internet and intranet. Here’s a great site for learning about different types of fiber connections.


Digital literacy

Obviously, if a system of fast internet-connected devices making a whole city is going to work at all, it’s going to need people that can run it. Not only that, but the people that live in said city will want to be as digitally competent as possible. This will help everyone there maximize their potential.

The average worker could be someone who works remotely online, rather than someone who specifically needs to be in that location because of his/her job. The type of learning that people will have to do to function in, and more importantly, run, smart cities isn’t just computer literacy though.

Managers will need to learn about the following as well:

  • Workforce and business development.
  • Sustainability.
  • Effective transportation and efficiency.
  • Planning and development (using existing data to improve future efficiency).

You can read the Microsoft plan to work with the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for smart city development here.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Most people know what artificial intelligence is. It encompasses everything from the rudimentary programs used by simple machines and robots, to advanced computing. AI is everywhere from smart houses to chess playing computers. It basically sets a series of rules for how an electronic device such as a robot or computer acts in a given scenario. 

Machine learning on the other hand, is the ability of a machine to recognize patterns and make predictions based on those patterns. It is used in all kinds of fields, from medicine to astronomy, and can be far more efficient than having people do the same thing. 

Continuing our example of a trash can that communicates when it is full to be emptied:

  1. A smart city could use machine learning to eventually figure out what areas need more/bigger trash cans, or more frequent emptying.
  2. Thus, Machine learning leads to more efficient transport, business, catastrophe defense, and a more efficient city over all.


What are the benefits of a smart city?

Lower energy consumption

As smart cities monitor where traffic is, they will know what areas need light at night. This leads to lower use of energy. The same can be applied for things like lights and heat/air conditioning in office buildings.

Safety and security

With so much being monitored, it will be difficult to get away with violent crimes. Facial recognition and other technologies will deter criminals from theft, robbery, and violence.

Public internet

Keeping people connected goes a long way. Travelers who may not have SIM cards in phones can connect to public Wi-Fi to check a map and get where they need. Anyone can be connected to the internet and the font of knowledge therein.

The list goes on

There are too many benefits of a smart city to list here, if you want to read about a few more, look here.


Reliable Commercial Construction, building the future with you

At Reliable Commercial Construction we are ready to take on the responsibility of building the cities of the future. We understand that our current methodologies in city and urban planning may be good, but can always be better. We are experienced and cutting-edge construction contractors who follow a mission of “relentless cooperation.” If you want your construction to be built better, more efficiently, and ready for the future, then we are on the same page. Contact us today to find out how we can help you build your dreams.