The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association states of Smart Cities: “As world urbanization continues to grow and the total population expected to double by 2050, there is an increased demand for intelligent, sustainable environments that reduce environmental impact and offer citizens a high-quality life. A smart city brings together technology, government and society to enable a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living and smart governance.”
At first glance, the rush towards IoT adoption seems to be one of convenience, but it’s more about achieving important goals, such as improving the life and management of infrastructure, enhancing resident safety, and cutting costs and energy usage to be greener. To really understand the rise of smart cities, we need to delve into some of the drivers behind the adoption of this technology.
Infrastructure Management and Maintenance: By using IoT technology, cities and municipalities can better monitor the condition of their infrastructure leading to improvements in safety, replacement costs and frequency. IoT technology can embed sensors in public infrastructure projects to determine the extent of degradation, daily traffic flow increases, temperature extremes that may exacerbate damage, safety issues that could lead to mass injuries or loss of life.
Security: IoT technology allows the addition of new security features to buildings, offices, residential homes. Facial recognition systems and biometric systems offer the means to improve security and safety for homeowners, business owners and workers, government employees.
Reduction in the Use of Energy: IoT technology offers an immense capability to reduce energy consumption, particularly wasted energy from lighting and heating/cooling rooms people are not using. By focusing on zoned lighting/heating/cooling, cities can dramatically decrease their demand on the energy grid.
Improved Communication Capabilities: The development and installation of smart networks allow improved communication capabilities from virtually all areas of a city making possible for things like traffic lights and for grids within city parks to communicate with the city council or the parks department.
Emergency Preparedness and Environmental Awareness: Remote sensors could detect things ranging from changing barometric pressure to wind speed/shear and help predict weather changes.
Traffic Flow and Congestion Prevention: One of the most important drivers of cities adopting IoT technology has been the ability to better manage traffic flow within urban centres and on highways, improved safety, improved road management and maintenance, reduced time spent waiting. Sensors can communicate everything from the number of vehicles passing a specific spot to the weight of vehicles driving over them to the speed of vehicles. This can play a role in achieving important outcomes such as reducing traffic snarls, cutting down on the time commuters must sit in gridlock, and even potentially eliminating the most negative impacts of rush hour completely.
The Internet of Things is here to stay and nowhere is that more apparent than in the adoption of smart technology within cities around the world. While it might not be universal yet, adoption speed is increasing as the significant benefits of smart technology become better understood and access to this technology becomes more widespread.

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