Smart Cities Explained
Smart cities aren’t the futuristic metropolitan areas you are picturing, and that’s okay. The term simply refers to cities that invest in information and communication technology to improve services within that city. These services include day=to-day necessities like transportation, utilities, and emergency alerts.
Making a city smart means installing the apps, softwares, and services into a government system to make it run more efficiently. The groundwork has already been laid down for some cities to take it to the next level.
According to data from Statista, there were 167.5 million connected devices within the public sector in 2018, and that number is projected to grow over the coming years. The problem is that there’s no ecosystem for these connected devices to work in unison for the betterment of a city and its citizens.
Because smart city initiatives don’t always provide immediately measurable benefits, convincing officials to allocate resources from already strained budgets is considerably difficult. But the reality is that these initiatives can save governments and citizens a lot of time and money.
How Smart Cities Save Time
If you’ve ever waited in line at the DMV or tried to pay a parking ticket online, you know that government processes are far from efficient. Between the miles of red tape and the outdated systems, it can take hours to complete tasks that should be completed in a matter of minutes. Smart cities can change that, and there’s data to back it up.
According to a report from Juniper Research, smart city initiatives have the potential to save everyday citizens nearly 60 hours per year through intelligent traffic systems (19.4 hours), open data (31 hours), cashless payments (1.2 hours), and safer roads 7.8 hours).
And time isn’t the only thing cities would save.
How Smart Cities Save Money
Time is money, but you know what else is money? Money. And when it comes to embedding information and communication technology into a smart city, the financial benefits are pretty obvious.
According to data from ABI Research [paywall content], the cost-savings associated with the smart city movement are substantial. For one, the research found that governments can save as much as $4.95 billion every year with simple solutions such as smart street lights and energy-efficient buildings.
The savings don’t stop at the government level, either. The data found that citizen savings are actually much higher, as much as $26.69 billion per year (not, sadly, per person). These savings come thanks to smart grids and micro-meters that will keep energy costs significantly lower, or substantially cut down education costs thanks to a combination of online and in-person course options.