Individually, smart homes are great for their respective owners, in terms of utilities and savings. However, it’s time to address the bigger picture– what comes beyond smart homes and how it adds to the relevance of IoT technology.

The answer’s simple. A smart city. When the IoT infrastructure of smart homes works in cohesion with a city that’s enabled with similar smart technology we get a city that’s highly energy efficient and delivers cost effective services to its citizens. So how does such a city function? How does it change the lives of its citizens? Read on to find out.

The major goals of smart city infrastructure are to increase efficiency through energy savings, and improve health and sanitation facilities for citizens. There are 3 key industries that connect smart homes to smart cities.

Graphic rendition of a smart city

A city that’s connected to the future

Image source: http://www.oi-me.com

 

  1. Utilities

The utilities within smart homes make use of IoT enabled devices to collect absolutely precise data on consumption and usage trends. Apart from increased savings, this will also make cities more energy efficient.

Illustration of smart city water network

Smart utilities for an efficient living

Image source: https://sensus.com

 

  1. Digital appliances

Many smart appliance manufacturers are giving importance to data gathering and providing dynamic suggestions to users. When it comes to smart cities, the data gathered from individual homes can be combined and provided to the governing bodies in order improve energy management.

Nest learning thermostat features

Always be in the loop with smart health devices

Image source: https://www.villageheating.co.uk

 

  1. Health and safety

This is particularly useful for the elderly and disabled. Various sensors can be embedded into furniture, appliances and even clothing. The data, which is about their health and security, can then be incorporated into a private health network, allowing all those connected to it, to access it.

Illustration of IoT based health monitoring

Technology that cares for those you love

Image source: http://www.fujitsu.com

 

You’re probably wondering whether such technology is actually being used in cities. Well, yes it is.

There are certain cities that have incorporated IoT technology into their infrastructure which makes them pretty efficient. Here are examples of two smart cities smart cities to give you some real insight:

 

  1. New York City:  In 2009, NYC integrated over 800,000 automated water meter reading (AMR) systems throughout residences of the five boroughs. AMRs use radio transmitters to share usage information with the authorities, via rooftop transmission. As a result of the accurate billing data obtained, the city is able to save about 3 million USD per year. What’s more, a smart leak notification system has also been introduced to many AMRs, leading to over 70 million USD being saved totally.

wired connectivity of the past

smart cities of the present

connected smart cities of future

  1. Singapore: Taking advantage of the extensive fiber cable network that covers the entire city, the Singapore government has turned the city into a playground for testing IoT technology. Currently, there are extensive efforts underway to integrate the health and safety sector with smart technology. Singapore uses an Elderly Monitoring System (EMS), wherein sensors are deployed into various parts of a house, such as toilets, walls, chairs, etc. The data collected by these sensors can be used to keep family members and doctors updated on the health of their loved ones/patients.

 

And what about India– Where do we stand?

The Indian government believes that there’s no universal definition for smart cities, not a technical one at least. The basic goal of any smart city is to enrich the lives of its citizens. This is why the features of such cities vary from place to place, as they’re conditional to factors such as the level of development, resources, aspirations of citizens, etc. It is in keeping with such conditions that the Indian smart city initiative will focus on harnessing technological innovation (smart utilities metering, smart traffic) in order to create a greener and more sustainable way of life.   

In 2015, PM Narendra Modi launched the initiative, which aims to select and commission suitable cities (100 of them) as candidates. These cities will be turned into replicable models of ideal smart cities, and will give cue to all the cities within their states. So far, 90 cities have been confirmed, and they will become India’s foremost example of sustainable development through retrofitting, as well as re-development. So far, the total cost of all related projects is close to 29 billion USD, and will impact close to 96 million people.

Illustration of Singapore enabled with IoT signals

Singapore: a connected country, through and through

Image source: https://si.wsj.net

 

For most of us, smart cities are a concept of the future, that’ll continue to fascinate us with the improved way of life they offer. The reality of smart cities may seem far fetched, but rest assured, it is not a very distant one. Even though our future isn’t quite there yet, we can always modify our present to prepare for its arrival. To know more about creating smart homes that function with smart cities, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. 


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