It doesn’t take much to understand and realize how appealing the connection of IoT and smart cities can be. As the field of IoT continues to innovate and expand by the day, the potential efficiencies and benefits gained are also growing. One area that has emerged particularly from IoT innovation is called smart cities.

What is a Smart City?

A city can be considered smart if it makes use of modern day communication technologies to improve traditional operations or come up with new services in order to make the cities safer, more cost effective, and more efficient. It is expected that by year 2050, 66% of the population of the world will reside in urban areas that make the need for efficiency and innovation more apparent than ever for handling the excess population and ensuring the appropriate allocation of resources.

IoT Devices and How They Work

Even though IoT or Internet of Things may sound a bit unfamiliar, you might be able to recognize the connected ecosystem better as connected homes or smart homes that include the different IoT devices that can make your overall home life easier and more convenient.

However, IoT devices can also be found outside homes. These can range from a medical device implanted in the body such as a pacemaker to a Wi-Fi pet camera placed on the bookshelf. As long as the particular device can connect to the internet and comes with sensors that can transmit data, this can be regarded as an IoT device. But, although smartphones can do these two, these are not considered as IoT devices.

Color photo of a smartphone with a living room in the background; used to illustrate the meaning of IoT Security at home.
Smartphones play a big role in the field of IoT. | Photo credit: Pixabay
Smartphones and Apps

It’s pretty clear that smartphones play a big role in the field of IoT since most IoT devices are controllable through apps installed on smartphones. For instance, you can use your smartphone for communicating with a smart thermostat at home to set the right temperature you want once you arrive home from the office. One benefit here is that it eliminates the unnecessary cooling or heating while you are away which can possibly help you save money on your energy bills.

IoT Devices in a Smart Home

IoT devices come with mini-computer processors and sensors that act on data gathered by sensors through machine learning. IoT devices are essential mini computers that are connected to the internet that make them vulnerable to hacking and malware. 

Machine learning happens when computers get to learn just like humans through data collection from the surroundings. This ability is the reason why IoT devices are considered smart. The data can then help machines in learning your preferences and adjusting itself consequently. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that can help computers in learning with no need to be programmed by a person.

However, it doesn’t mean that you can talk to your smart speaker about the crucial points of the big game last night. On the other hand, your connected refrigerator may also send an alert to your smartphone that you are already low on milk and eggs since it knows that you are close to a supermarket.

Some Benefits of IoT to Consumers

The Internet of Things has been designed to make consumers’ lives easier and more convenient. Good examples are the following:

  • Smart voice assistant placing your typical takeout order on command, which makes it a breeze to get some fresh foods delivered to your door.
  • Security device monitoring your house, turning lights off and on as you exit and enter rooms, and streaming videos so you could check in while you are away.
  • A smart bathroom scale working with your treadmill, providing some ideas for food preparation to your smartphone or laptop, which enables you to stay healthy.
Color photo of a smartphone and tablets with a city in background; used to illustrate the meaning of IoT in smart cities.
The primary benefit of smart cities is sustainability. | Photo credit: Pixabay
The Need for IoT in Smart Cities
1. Energy Efficiency

You could not appreciate the advantage of energy efficiency if you don’t understand what’s at stake. Basically, the grid infrastructure is centuries old and only some of the installation is modernized for handling the current population in some cities.

But, instead of creating more facilities for power generation, people may lessen the consumed energy through using some devices that are energy efficient. Smart cities are one that are optimized to reduce energy consumption drastically through smart home appliances, smart energy meters, and so on.

2. Improved Security

It isn’t unusual that the city’s security will be paramount, particularly with the number of people. The efforts so far have been directed to CCTV cameras and it has been proven beneficial. Advancements including facial recognition as well as protection against hazards including intrusion, fire, and smoke will make the difference.

With the use of IoT technology would further optimize the technology, which helps the swift response of the necessary organizations. The initiative of smart cities will serve as deterrent for those who are planning to perpetrate evil acts.

3. Economic Boom

There is a difference between generating more revenues and saving money. Smart cities are an ideal recipe for doing both. As everybody knows, smart cities will attract more businesses and some exciting projects would boost the economy and decrease unemployment. In addition to that, businesses will throng to a smart city to enjoy growth opportunities. Companies would see improved profit margins due to operating cost will be reduced significantly.

4. Enhanced Traffic Situation

It’s the part that actually appeals to a lot of people. Recently, Auto Insurance Center released a study that an average commuter wasted forty-two hours in traffic. It’s a usual work week and thousands of dollars can be lost just by being stuck in traffic. Also, imminent migration to the urban cities means that this kind of situation isn’t expected to minimize anytime soon.

IoT in Smart cities will employ sophisticated technology to monitor particular congestion points and traffic patterns and give drivers with real-time information about the best route to consider. Any accident-prone areas are mapped out as well and the drivers may be alerted about the different safe driving practices.

The Bottom Line

The primary benefit of smart cities is sustainability. Everybody has to work together for the future she or he desires. The abovementioned benefits are just a fraction of what IoT has to provide everyone, especially in Smart Cities.

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IoT Security at Home and in Smart Cities

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