Reasons to Implement Smart City

This essay was written as a requirement to pass the Academic Writing course.

What is a smart city?

source : google images

As the global population continues to grow at a steady pace, more and more people are moving to cities every single day. As our planet becomes more urban, our cities need to get smarter. To handle this large-scale urbanization, we’ll need to find new ways to manage complexity, increase efficiency, reduce expenses, and improve quality of life. With this rapid growth ahead of us, imagine if our cities could talk — if they could give us live status updates on traffic patterns, pollution, parking spaces, water, power and light. Imagine how that kind of information could improve the economic and environmental health of the city for residents, merchants, and visitors. Imagine how it could improve working conditions and productivity for the people who maintain the city. Smart City is the answer to those problems and imaginations.

To answer the previous question, a smart city is a city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions. A smart city uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve contact between citizens and government. Sectors that have been developing smart city technology include government services, transport and traffic management, energy, health care, water and waste. Smart city applications are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple ‘transactional’ relationship with its citizens

Seeing so many sophisticated technologies being implemented into a city, we might think that running a smart city is difficult. It might cost big budget to install the technologies and some experts at ICT to maintain it. Well, it is true. We might even see those difficulties as the drawbacks of implementing a smart city. But those disadvantages are just a drop in the ocean compared to the benefit we gain. Although a smart city needs lots of resources to be implemented, smart city has more benefit such as better service for the citizen, better planning and development of the city, better transport and traffic management, better environment, strengthen security system, and help the city’s economic growth.

A better service for the citizen

The first benefit is helping the government to do a better service for the citizen. The latest technologies applied on a smart city will truly help the government to monitor the city status and simplify the citizen’s daily life. One example is the SmartCities card that is applied on Southamton, English. The SmartCities card is a multifunctional card that allows you to access a number of different services in Southampton. It can be your bus pass, a library card, a leisure card or as a card to pay the toll on the Itchen Bridge. The English National Concessionary bus pass entitles eligible residents of England to travel for free on any eligible service within England. SmartCities card can also give you access to the libraries in Southampton. Another example is a software Media Social Mapping that is used in Bandung Command Centre. The software is able to capture all sorts of social media conversations of citizens in facebook and twitter directly related to public service or citizen complaints related to infrastructure. Once the complaints was mapped according to region, Bandung’s government could immediately take accurate countermeasures.

New York Also Implements 24/7 Service Request using New York City’s 311 app, a mobile-friendly, user oriented service that facilitates and improves the interaction between the City’s Government and its residents. New York City’s 311 system is the largest in the country. Since 2003, the City has handled more than 232 million contacts. As the city’s main source of government information and non-emergency services, residents can access 311 via phone, web, text, social, and mobile to submit service requests or obtain community information.

A better plan and development to the city

Second, Smart City helps government to make a better plan and development to the city. The advantages of technologies in smart cities help the government to obtain accurate information quickly. The information regarding problems that happens in each regions will be accommodated so that accurate countermeasures can be taken. From the data that the government got previously it can be determined the tendency of the problems that happens frequently on a certain region. Then plans for the future could be made accurately. A big city certainly have some big scales project happening on. Smart city helps the government to monitor those project without going to the location directly. Thus allowing them to collect information about the city’s growth and it become more clear in terms of how the city should be developed and planned.

Manage transport and traffic

Third, Smart City Technologies help to manage transport and traffic. Let’s take example of New York City. On a daily basis, tens to hundreds of thousands vehicles uses NYC road. In order to ease the congestion created by these vehicles, the Department of Transportation established Midtown in Motion, a technology enabled traffic management system that uses real-time traffic information from a variey of such as microwaves sensors and traffic video cameras to monitor and respond to various traffic conditions. All of the information is transmitted wirelessly to The Traffic Management Centre (TMC) over a secure City-operated network. The TMC use that information to identify problems as they arise and adjust signal timing, enabling them to ease the flow of traffic throughout the city. New York City also equip public buses with sensors to make them the top priority of the traffic. This is done in order to improve the flow of bus traffic so that the bus is on time. The monitoring of the bus is done through GPS and location. The system works by giving the bus that is on higher priority an early greenlight or an extended greenlight.

In addition to improving the movement of vehicles through the City of New York, responsive traffic management also helps the environment. As vehicles idle in traffic, they emit a range of greenhouse gases and particulate matter associated with air pollution. Midtown in Motion mitigates this effect by reducing vehicles idle times, helping to keep New York City’s air clean.

A better environment for the city

Fourth, Smart City Technologies help to make a better environment for the city. By using a lot of sophisticated technologies installed, we all think that Smart City is not environmental friendly. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Smart City Technologies is doing it’s best to make a better and healthier environment by saving energy and reducing pollution as much as possible. Amsterdam is one of the city known for it’s environmental friendly technologies. The Smart Home is one of amsterdam’s project. The smart home aims to achieve automated and sustainable living with domotics.
In the Demohouse more than 60 domotics products control the house in the areas of Climate, Control, Energy, Safety and Security. With the heart of the system, the gateway, all electrical appliances can be controlled and the temperature in every room can be regulated. The Demohouse is fully protected, from security cameras to automatic door locks. In addition, the gateway offers insights in electricity, gas and water consumption in the house. Al the products can be controlled from anywhere in the world, the only thing you need is an internet connection and a PC/smartphone/tablet.

The Results, The Demohouse already saves €63 a month on its energy, gas and water bill. These savings are not only achieved by intelligent switching and controlling electrical appliances, but also by the insights of the consumption. And the halogen lights where replaced with LED lights to save energy.

Another one of Amsterdam’s project is Fuel Cell Technology. By installing 21st century technology in a 17th century monument building will reduce CO2 emissions by 50%. Using this innovative local energy generation technology will enable the building to provide its own electricity. Because fuel cells are very efficient and do not burn the fuel through a combustion process, the fuel cells do not produce large quantities of greenhouse gases, such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx). The only emissions from fuel cells are water, in the form of steam, and low levels of carbon dioxide.

Strengthen the security system

Fifth, Smart City concept help to strengthen the security system. By using a high technology real time information receiver, citizens could use some apps to send a signal indicating they are in emergency or dangerous situation. Bandung in example, use a panic button app named X-igent Panic Button. After downloading the app, the user need to input real personal data included with the phone number of the closes person who can be contacted such as family. The application works by pushing the panic button three times. The user’s location will be tracked in the Bandung Command Centre. The Police officers who receive complaints will immediately contact the nearest field personnel in order to help the user.. Less than 3 minutes, the officer will immediately come.

Meanwhile in New York, the city is equipped with real time gunshot detection. In order to enhance the Domain Awareness System (DAS) and improve gunshot incident response times, NYPD introduced technology that provides the agency with real-time acoustic gunshot detection. First tested as a demonstration project in the Bronx and Brooklyn in the spring of 2015, a gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter has now been integrated into the City’s DAS. The system consists of hundreds of rooftop mounted sensors, each programmed to detect the acoustic fingerprint of a gunshot. Three sensor must identify the gunshot, and using the recordings, the shot can be located to within 25 meters of its location. The signals are routed to ShotSpotter’s headquarters for validation before sending an alert through the DAS that notifies NYPD within a minute of the shot’s firing.

Help the city’s economic growth

Sixth, Smart City help the city’s economic growth. The amazing growth of Smart City’s Technology will almost certain attract investment to boost the economy. Not to mention the ability of Smart City to spread information at an amazing speed. Amsterdam utilize this advantage very well. A project called “Budget Monitoring” is launched to facilitate citizens to screen, assess, and actively participate in the decisions on public policy-making and government expenditure. It offers citizens the power, knowledge, and self-belief to take action for the right to live in better environments. The Center for Budget monitoring binds diverse community-led organizations, allowing valuable encounters among them as well as dialogue between citizens, organizations, and the government in mapping out problems and their solutions.

The Cons

For the cons, building a smart city requires a big amount of budget and lots of experts. Building smart city is not an easy thing, it requires big fund allocation. To realize the Smart Cities Mission, that is to build 100 smart cities, India has allocated US$15 billion fund. If the fund were to be equally distributed for each city, they got US$150 million each. It is not a small amount. Furthermore, it is only the budget for the installation, not the maintenance. It means they need more fund. To have a big fund is not enough to build a smart city. The other thing you need is experts in their field and human resources to install and maintain it. Looking for experts is not as easy as flipping the hand. Sometimes the experts needed are in another country, more difficulties arise and the fund needed is getting bigger.

The Conclusions

In Conclusion, despite the big disadvantages of Smart City, it has a bigger advantages such as better service for the citizen, better planning and development of the city, better transport and traffic management, better environment, strengthen security system, and help the city’s economic growth. Look at those massive advantage we gain from building a smart city. In short, it is an easier life for the whole city. Its worth it for raising big fund to build a smart city, and its a right decision to invest on a smart city. We got a bigger advantage than what we spend. In my opinion, every Mid-Big City in the world should transform into smart cities. We can see the future so bright with lots of smart cities in the world.