Key ingredients for today's Smart Cities

January 31, 2023

The term Smart City used to refer to "cities of the future", but Smart Cities are increasingly turning the present. Thanks to the use of digital solutions such as IoT (Internet of Things) and Artificial Intelligence, among other technologies, it is now possible to sensor cities. Capturing real-time data from the urban environment —and its infrastructures and services— allows optimising and automating processes and making better management decisions.

This makes cities that embrace digitalisation increasingly healthier, more attractive and safer. With more efficient public services and a lower environmental impact.

Smart cities are able to grow in a more sustainable way and improve the quality of life of their citizens.

We have brought together six key components of today's Smart Cities. They include solutions that enable features today that not so long ago defined the cities of the future:

Smart parking

Smart mobility solutions make it easier for drivers to find parking spaces in urban areas. This improves traffic flow, reduces emissions, and promotes local commerce and citizen satisfaction.

These solutions can also be applied to park-and-ride facilities, airports, hospitals, shopping and leisure centres or natural areas.

Smart Transport

Many public transport systems are already interconnected, enabling coordination between different modes of transport and allowing them to provide real-time information on their location, time of arrival at the stop, journey time and more.

Similarly, smart transport facilitates "mobility mixes", journeys that combine different modes of transport according to the context and individual needs: private car, public transport, shared bicycle or scooter…

Smart street lighting

City lighting accounts for between 40% and 70% of municipalities' electricity bills. It is possible to reduce costs and emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce light pollution by integrating IoT devices and connectivity for smart management and remote management.

Smart street lighting offers new business opportunities and benefits for both cities and their citizens.

Mobility management

Mobility control systems for vehicles and pedestrians provide timely information on the status and possible incidents affecting mobility. These systems calculate and even anticipate the most convenient route for public transport, drivers and pedestrians.

They also automatically manage traffic lights and other signals to adapt to different contexts and unforeseen events to optimise mobility and reduce congestion.

Efficient waste management

Technology is already making it possible to improve the management of municipal waste, improving the quality of the service, saving costs and reducing its environmental impact. Not all districts in the same city generate the same type of waste or the same amount of waste.

Technology makes it possible to obtain real-time information on the status of the containers.

It is possible to combine this information with a vehicle fleet management system to plan optimal collection routes depending on collection needs, areas, volumes, or types of waste.

Efficient municipal waste management is essential to improve recycling, promote the circular economy and reduce environmental impact.

Monitoring environmental parameters

Monitoring environmental parameters makes it possible to assess the quality of the urban environment and reduce environmental, light or noise pollution. Thanks to the deployment of IoT sensors, it is possible to monitor these data in real time in order to know the situation accurately and make better decisions.

The monitoring of environmental parameters also makes it possible to measure parameters such as the concentration of CO2 or harmful particles or pollutants. Or meteorological phenomena that can influence the functioning of the city.

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If you want to know more about the present and future of Smart Cities, visit our new Smart Cities section of the Telefónica Tech website.