All About Smart Cities

Smart cities are all about efficiency, but is there a room for improvement to leading smart cities?

A smart city is a modern, often highly-urbanized area that uses technologies to supply information with the goal of efficient management of assets and resources. A smart city is highly characterized by operational efficiency, shared public information, and an improved quality of government services and citizen welfare.

History of Smart Cities

The world’s first smart city, and is still considered as one of the best smart cities in the world, is Seoul. The city provided the best and most technologically advanced healthcare services in the world. The disabled and the elderly were provided tablets and smartphones for monitoring purposes and to receive timely medical attention. As the host of the upcoming 5G network, Seoul is also leading in technological innovation in mobility and transportation.

Other smart cities came to life only a few moments after. With cities like Vienna, Boston, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris, London, San Francisco, and New York catching up in terms of the employment of technology and innovation to improve their residents’ everyday life, the new standard of efficiency became the trend for forward-looking cities.

But what is considered a smart city? There are a lot of factors that are taken into consideration when calling a place a smart city. Among the most important factors is the city’s goal to provide ease of living to its residents. A city cannot be considered smart if it is unable to solve a problem that has existed for decades using technology. Therefore, ease of living is one of the most important elements of a smart city.

Other elements include Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and sustainable infrastructure, both of which are considered to improve operational efficiency in a city and are integral to making a city liveable.



There are six defined trends for smart cities this year, which are the following:

1. New mobility offerings

Maglev (magnetic levitation) and other train systems are expected to dominate as priority projects for smart cities this year, along with the development of electronic bikes and research in flying taxis.

2. Continued consolidation

Companies like Uber started this trend by acquiring Jump for USD200 million, advancing the latter’s offerings and increasing customer service efficiencies. Another company, Lyft, acquired a docked bike-share company called Motivate in July last year, with Ford acquiring Spin as part of the consolidation trend over shared mobility companies. Automakers are also expected to jump into the bandwagon, exploring the dockless vehicle market this year.

3. Changing face of parking

Car spaces may now be converted to scooter spaces, with the encouraged and increasing use of scooters to replace cars. Smart parking systems will also be expected to replace traditional parking spaces.

4. Predominance of scooters over bikes

Last year, companies are promoting the use of scooters over bikes. With companies like Lyft pledging to roll out scooters more in several markets, this year, experts are expecting consumers to ditch their bikes for scooters.

5. New ways to pay

Cashless transactions are gaining more popularity in smart cities, with low-income residents being given more options to avail of cashless ways to pay. Blockchain experimentation and integration will also be expected to rise in prominence this year.

6. Emphasis on 5G

The 5G trend started last year and was slow to develop. This year, an acceleration in the technology is forecast by many.

With technological advancement and innovation in a lot of aspects in smart cities continuing to improve the quality of life of many residents, other cities are also expected to join in the trend of providing ease of living to their residents. Whatever the costs are, cities should aspire to operate sustainably, providing better ways to meet the residents’ demands.

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