As the city continues to expand and welcome new citizens, the preservation of resources, the search for optimal organization and the protection of the environment become essential issues. How do smart city technologies and their sensors help optimize community life (management of transport and traffic infrastructures, waste collection, etc.)? How can technology transform an urban centre into a true smart city?
The Internet of Things at the heart of smart city strategies
The notion of smart city actually involves several technologies. It integrates many systems and sensors that need to be made to communicate with each other. The objective is to ensure constant and efficient network communication. Such use is indeed essential for fully automated decision-making (i.e. without any human intervention) and adapted to citizens’ expectations.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is ideal for meeting these needs. Widely used throughout the world, this specific environment has already demonstrated its effectiveness, particularly in the field of
- traffic management,
- transport infrastructure,
- mobility and parking solutions.
The IoT is also of interest to facilitate waste collection, pollution management or community safety.
Sensors to optimize the quality of service for the community
Innovation in the smart city is also based on the extensive use of sensors. They are omnipresent and their installation allows them to be invisible to the city’s inhabitants. Without them, the networked system could not be aware of the space in which it evolves or of its variations.
To remain efficient, it must necessarily collect and evaluate a large amount of data in real time. This constant analysis allows it to instantly adjust its operation, even after installation, to better match the changing lives of the smart city’s inhabitants (such as new transportation needs, for example).
Sensors are able to collect a multitude of physical parameters (light, pressure, temperature or humidity, to name only the most well-known) which they will then convert into electronic signals to make them interpretable by computer systems.
It is also important to highlight the constant progress offered by sensor manufacturers, which allows the development of new applications that would have been impossible to implement only a few years ago. Other areas (starting with the protection of our environment from pollution) can thus be integrated into the life of the smart city.