According to Statista, “the revenue from smart city infrastructure is forecast to grow to more than 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, a share of more than 40 percent of the total smart city revenue worldwide”. Governments all around the world are implementing interfaces and communication networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), connected sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data to boost sustainability, economic growth, and a better quality of life.
This year, due to the Suishenban Citizen Cloud platform, Shanghai has been nominated “world’s smartest city 2022”. Through this app, citizens can have access to more than 1200 public services: they can easily book health care appointments, make tourism complaints, and wedding reservations. Residents can also check their pension status, the weather forecasts, transportation issues, and legal services.
Innovations of this kind (but not only) are being implemented more and more often all around the world. Keep reading to learn more about how technologies are shaping urban innovation (and citizen’s habits)!
WHAT'S NEW AROUND THE WORLD
In North Logan, Utah, next summer, Electreon, one of the leading providers of wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles, in collaboration with the research center ASPIRE (Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification) will test a 50 meters in-road wireless technology to improve sustainable mobility infrastructure. Electreon intends to deliver the same project also in Italy, Germany, and Finland, as it accelerates carbon neutrality: indeed, it will be the first time that induction charging will be possible while driving, but also when the vehicle stops.
Urban innovation is also revolutionizing parking lots: Flowbird app mobile allows you to pay for a parking lot from anywhere, without cash and queues. This means that you can even extend your parking time with just a click if you won’t make it on time.
With the help of measured data management and multi-sensors, French-headquartered company Flowbird is also monitoring pollution and noise levels in urban areas, so that municipalities can take action to improve the quality of life of their citizens accordingly. Considering the impact of climate change, adopting smart sensors is indeed one of the best strategies to reduce our impact on the environment. But not the only one.
Reducing traffic congestion is also on the top list of priorities in this industry. The German city of Rüsselsheim am Main is using Velodyne Lidar technology to reduce traffic issues by monitoring lorries that are not permitted on public roadways. On the other side of the world, the Big Apple has also set the same goal. New York City is responding to Manhattan jams with 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras, and E-ZPass readers at 23 junctions as part of the so-called Midtown in Motion program.
Ontario, Canada, is likewise nearing the end of its journey to become a smarter city, having become the first to use drone delivery technology. Drone deliveries, which have been shown to save time and money, are also being tested in Europe, where various companies are attempting to reduce package damage and theft, two of the most common consumer concerns.
The power of technology is also being used in the UK's capital: having access to the London Development Database (LDD), citizens can check and track construction progress at different stages and times, always being up to date with the latest urban developments.
In Japan, to control residential electricity, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has committed to set up 27 million smart meters by the end of 2025. Researchers will strive to quantify the expected load current with great precision by monitoring the quantity of electricity consumed for each meter during a 30-minute period.
“The 19th century was a century of empires, the 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21th century will be a century of cities.” -Former Denver Mayor W. Webb
As seen, the most recent advancements in urban innovation are reshaping our communities (and our habits) in different sectors: clean energy, transportation, water energy, infrastructure maintenance, property management, and healthcare, among others. To reach the Paris Agreement's objective of being carbon-neutral by 2050, the European Commission unveiled the Cities Mission, which seeks to provide, by 2030, 100 carbon-neutral and smart cities, the future innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050. According to the EU experts, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and produce more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, making smart cities critical also in the fight against climate change.
• “DroneUp Completes First Smart City Drone Delivery in Ontario, California”, AP NEWS, 14 July 2021.
• Business Wire (2022) “Rüsselsheim am Main Selects Velodyne Lidar's Intelligent Infrastructure Solution to Monitor Municipal Truck Traffic and Improve Urban Air Quality”, Financial Post, 10 March.
• Easier, safer, faster [online]. Available at: https://flowbirdapp.com/ (Accessed: 15 March 2022).
• EU Mission: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities [online]. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/funding/funding-opportunities/funding-programmes-and-open-calls/horizon-europe/eu-missions-horizon-europe/climate-neutral-and-smart-cities_en (Accessed: 17 March 2022).
• O’Halloran, J. (2022) Shanghai rated world’s number-one smart city for 2022 [Online]. Available at: https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252512366/Shanghai-rated-worlds-number-one-smart-city-for-2022 (Accessed: 14 March 2022).
• PARK & BREATHE. POLLUTION & NOISE SENSORS [online]. Available at: https://www.flowbird.group/smartcity/en/solutions/urban-services/pollution-sensors/ (Accessed: 15 March 2022).
• Smart Meter Project [online]. Available at: https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/pg/development/domestic/smartmeter-e.html (Accessed: 15 March 2022).
• Von SEE, A. (2021) Smart Cities - Statistics & Facts [online]. Available at: https://www.statista.com/topics/4448/smart-city/#dossierKeyfigures (Accessed: 14 March 2022).
• Wirelessly charge electric vehicles - anytime, anywhere [online]. Available at: https://electreon.com/ (Accessed: 14 March 2022).