Does a City Need to be Smart?

There are many reasons to make cities smart: ecological and economic sustainability, improved administrative effectiveness, reduced costs, higher quality of life, or actionable insights for planning, to name just a few.

Smart city solutions based on machine-to-machine communication (M2M) provide benefits for both municipalities and citizens. Thanks to automated data exchange between connected things – such as parking spaces, street lights or even waste bins – city managers gain a new level of awareness about what is going on in the city. Apart from improving processes such as the maintenance of infrastructure, the newly gained knowledge helps them to handle complex administrative tasks better. Smart city solutions help municipalities cope with rising populations and shrinking budgets.

Smart city solutions bring benefits for citizens and contribute their share to make cities more livable. These benefits can be subtle improvements, such as an online service for passport applications, or more substantial and noticeable changes, such as less time lost in traffic congestions or looking for parking spaces thanks to smarter parking and mobility concepts.

 

Smarter Cities Are Growing Greener

Every smart city solution aids cities in implementing sustainable structures. The reason is that they make the use of resources transparent, which is a crucial precondition for identifying cost- and resource-saving opportunities. Take street lighting or parking, for example. Conventional street lighting accounts for a large proportion of municipal energy costs. As soon as street lights connect and integrate into a remote management solution, electricity costs can be reduced by between 30 and 70 percent and maintenance costs by 10 percent. Cities can improve ecological sustainability by means of parking and mobility management. Experts estimate that motorists looking for somewhere to park account for between 10 to 30 percent of inner city traffic in the U.S. In New York, the number is said to be as high as 45 percent. In the light of these figures, smart parking systems are considered to be a mainstay of sustainable inner-city mobility concepts. They lead to better traffic flows, lower CO2 emissions and less fuel consumption.

Suitable solutions are not science fiction any more. Municipalities are implementing them into city infrastructures worldwide as we speak. Deutsche Telekom and the city of Pisa, Italy, are piloting a sensor-based parking guide system, for example. On Piazza Carrara, less than 700 meters away from the LeaningTower, 75 parking spaces are being equipped with sensors. The sensors can detect whether parking spaces are free or occupied and relay this information to a car-park routing system. The cooperation also includes a big data service that analyzes historical traffic data to optimize the flow of traffic.

At the Mobile World Congress, Deutsche Telekom introduced two solutions for these application areas – parking and mobility management and street lighting management – and received quite some interest and attention from visitors and the media. According to the UN, a total of 3.63 billion people lived in big cities in 2011, and there will be an estimated 6.25 billion by 2050 – about 67.2 percent of the world’s population. High time to make cities smart.

Tags: M2M , Smart City , mobile world congress , Street Lighting Management , Parking Management , Mobility Management

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