Two of the most prominent issues that smart city solutions can help solve are traffic flow and public safety, and AT&T and GE are aiming to tackle both with a new partnership focused on building smart streetlights, according to Engadget.
The companies teamed up to install the Current CityIQ sensors provided by the telco in streetlights retrofitted with connected GE bulbs in many cities. The smart streetlights will save energy for the cities that use them, and the sensors can also monitor traffic and detect unusual noises like gunshots.
The solution will be first deployed in San Diego, which will install the Current sensors in 14,000 LED connected streetlights across the city. The city estimates that it will reduce its energy costs by $2.4 million. Meanwhile, 3,200 sensors will be installed and connected on those streetlights by AT&T.
These versatile smart city solutions that solve multiple problems will become most popular moving forward. Many smart city solutions offered by providers focus on solving a single urban problem. For example, drones are often solely used in smart city solutions to inspect buildings and other pieces of urban infrastructure. But if these same drones could also, for instance, provide connectivity to fill cellular coverage gaps, this could become a very popular smart city offering.
Smart cities are cities that leverage IoT devices like sensors, smart lights, and smart meters to gather data that can be analyzed to gain new insights regarding their infrastructure, population, and public services.
Few cities around the world have actually grown into truly “smart” cities — most are still in the early phases of implementing some of these IoT devices, and have yet to data processing and analysis tools that can turn vast troves of data from millions of devices into a real-time view of a city’s activity and operations.
The smart cities segment has enormous potential as a market for IoT solutions, but it is also an inherently slow-moving market. Smart cities development faces many barriers around the world including tight municipal budgets, sluggish technology procurement guidelines for public agencies, privacy and cybersecurity concerns, and a pressing need for more IT staff at municipal agencies. Taking the time to deploy new, futuristic technologies can also be a luxury that many municipal agencies charged with the day-to-day running of a metropolis can’t afford.
However, many cities are starting to address these challenges, and smart city development around the world is accelerating.
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on smart cities that contrasts the development of smart cities in different regions of the world. It examines the unique factors that are driving the growth of smart cities in different parts of the world, and also identifies important barriers that still need to be overcome in different markets. It further details some of the most common types of smart city projects in different regions, such as smart parking and transportation, smart energy and sustainability projects, and smart public safety initiatives, and delves into some examples of these projects.
Here are some key points from the report:
- Smart cities projects around the world are being shaped by local and regional socio-economic needs. This has led cities in different parts of the world to use similar IoT technologies for a wide array of different use cases.
- In the EU, environmental sustainability goals are driving cities to rapidly implement IoT technologies in an effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
- Cities in Central and South America are using sensors and other smart cities solutions to reduce road congestion and make their infrastructure more reliable in the face of extreme weather events like hurricanes and tropical storms.
- North American cities lag behind their EU counterparts in implementing smart cities solutions because of resource constraints, but are also finding ways to use IoT technologies to do more with less.
- Although smart city development in Africa is extremely nascent, new networking technologies like Low Power Wide Area Networks and the next-generation 5G networks will help provide the connectivity to get more smart cities projects off the ground on the continent.
- Asian countries are set to become the market leaders in smart city adoption, but still face challenges in training the IT talent to help municipal authorities manage smart cities projects.