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Smart Cities and the ‘Internet of Things’ By @MetraTech @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

Today, IoT has the potential to once again transform industry and society just as the Industrial Revolution did

Smart Cities: ‘Internet of Things’ Meets the Smart Digital Citizen

The Industrial Revolution in the 18th to 19th centuries was a period during which predominantly rural societies in Europe and America became industrial and urban. Advances in steam technology, transportation, mass production and the telegraph collectively transformed industry and society. Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to once again transform industry and society just as the Industrial Revolution did. Analyst firm IDC forecasts that the IoT market will grow to $8.9 trillion by 2020 with anywhere between 30 to 50 billion connected autonomous things, making the potential growth opportunities staggering as sensors, technology and networking come together to enable buildings, infrastructure and other resources to swap information. Over the next decade, as much as $3 trillion in global smart technology opportunities will exist for cities.

The human population crossed the 7 billion mark toward the end of the last decade, and for the first time in our history, the majority of the world's population is living in cities. A recently published report by the UN World Urbanization Prospects highlighted this fact: urban areas are expected to absorb the majority of all population growth forecasted over the next four decades. In Europe, for example, the level of urbanization is expected to continue rising so that by 2050, it is expected to reach more than 84 percent. But, the re-urbanization movement across the globe creates stress on an already stretched infrastructure that controls everything from transportation and water to energy distribution, emergency services and security. While it is true that cities hold the key to the social and economic development of their countries, there is little doubt that they have to get smarter to support the demographic explosion and resulting impact on the quality of life for its citizens and visitors.

If we analyze the makeup of a city, it is comprised of three basic layers that can be enhanced by the Internet of Things. Sensors, hubs, cameras and location-based services monitor activity across the subterranean level comprising transport, sewers, water, electricity, heat and communications systems; the ground level includes all things accessible from the street, such as roads, buildings, museums, parks, restaurants, shops, billboards, lights and even benches; and last air space encompasses skyscrapers, bridges and cell towers. In a smart city, the data-collecting sensors across these city layers are all integrated and communicating with each other. The data generated can be analyzed across systems to anticipate, mitigate and even prevent common city problems. Meanwhile, the citizen armed with a smartphone or wearable device interacts with the city, creating a symbiotic relationship that makes it possible for the smart city to respond to his needs like a living organism. But creating the smart city presents a very real and complex planning and public policy challenge for city administrators tasked with finding new models of operation. Common services, including transport, parking, energy, lighting, security, waste management and public safety are being rethought to provide a better quality of life for citizens.

Smart cities can transform and improve the lives of each citizen and of society as a whole. From traffic management, enhanced energy distribution and water leak detection to automated lighting and crime detection and prevention, all of these services will become the new normal. In the next blog, we will look at real-world smart cities making it happen.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

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