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How The Internet Of Things Can Create Smarter Cities

27 May 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is often referred to as "the next big thing", and already today we can see that machine-to-machine communication has impacted industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceutical, logistics and shipping to mention a few. However, IoT is more than just smart home appliances or smart cars - it can be scaled up and enable whole cities to become connected and smarter. 



My hometown Stockholm (in the picture above) has a reputation for being one of the world's most sustainable cities.   In 2014 it was featured in Fast Company's list - The 10 Smartest Cities In Europe.

Air pollution, high energy consumption and poor energy effeciency are a few of many problems that's common in today's megacities. Around 54% of the world's population live in cities and they account for 70% of the energy-related greenhouse gas emissions according to the United Nations.  Despite these glooming facts, cities can be part of the solution and offer innovative technology and policy solitions. 

A concept that has gained popularity in recent years is the smart city. There is no universal definition of the smart city, but it's often defined as a vision to use digital technology and data to manage a city's assets - which can include schools, libraries, transportation systems, e-governance, waste-management, water-management, energy management and law enforcement. The overall goal is to create a more sustainable city with a high quality of life. 


From the visualisation above we can see that IoT-solutions can help us solve some of the previously mentioned challenges such as air pollution, high energy consumption and poor energy efficiency. Cisco predicts that these technologies which connect people, processes, data, and things will generate $4.6 trillion value at stake for the public sector over the next decade. Additionally, they argue that the value at stake will come as a result of IoT's ability to help public-sector organisations optimise performance, create new business models and manage assets.  

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is one of an increasing number of cities around the world that's investing in digital technology and striving to become a smart city. In 2014, Copenhagen won the World Smart Cities award for its initative "Copenhagen Connecting". The purpose of the initiative is to reduce congestion, air pollution and CO2 emissions by a smart use of wireless data from cell phones, GPS's in busses, sensors in sewers, gargabe cans and much more. The project, which is a partnership between the municipality of Copenhagen, several private companies and four universities, is expected to bring economic benefits that's worth 640 million euros according to the magazine Wired

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