Smart cities promise to revolutionize urban areas as these cities invest in human and social capital, infrastructure, and disruptive technologies to fuel sustainable economic growth efficiently and manage assets, resources, and services. These urban areas often adopt various electronic methods and sensors to monitor, manage, and improve operations across the city.
A new solution that keeps track of and monitors all information and communication is needed to capture and process the plethora of data generated from the constant monitoring of cameras, sensors, and various physical devices connected to the IoT network to ensure smooth and efficient operation of the city. Enter the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and computer vision (CV) as an interpreter and manager of the intelligence gathered from these always connected systems and devices.
The result, the smart city’s evolution, the smart business model, the smart enterprise.
Stakeholders in the governance of smart cities
Markets and Markets predict that the global smart cities market will grow from USD 410.8 billion in 2020 to USD 820.7 billion by 2025.
The governance of smart cities includes various stakeholders – including government, citizens, public and private sectors taking part in planning and decision-making processes, participating in the development of initiatives, and collaboratively addressing the problems arising in urban management.
Role of technology
Smart cities are an amalgamation of information, infrastructure, and technology. Each plays their respective roles in creating, developing, and supporting a clean, sustainable, energy-efficient environment that provides quick and easy access to products and services.
Smart cities usually depend on information and communication technologies (ICT) to ensure two-way communication between the government and citizens and rely upon the digitization of services.
Role of government
Deloitte lists out government roles in its study on how technological advances shape our cities. According to its capability framework and maturity model, any smart city requires a government that meets six vital roles, which can be summed up as:
- Strategist & advocate – where the government sets out a clear direction, vision, and framework, functioning as an advocate for innovation and a hub for new businesses
- Director & regulator – where the government creates or changes the laws to promote new business models, simultaneously protecting the interests of these new disruptive entries along with those of citizens
- Connector & protector – where the government procures, secure, set standards, and takes measures to make modern infrastructure, energy grids, advanced technology, and other digital networks more secure, reliable, and resilient
- Innovator & investor – where the government encourages and stimulates innovation functioning as a launching pad
- Steward – where the government encourages and creates an environment for new and smart businesses and solutions to emerge and grow
- Solution enabler – where the government builds ecosystems by gathering all the potential parties to create and deliver creative new solutions that neither of the parties could have achieved independently
Role of citizens
Deloitte reports that citizens engage with the city government in six different roles vital for a successful strategy.
- As voters – citizens elect politicians who have a clear vision and fulfill expectations set and promises made
- As a customer – where citizens expect that good quality services are rendered
- As a subject – where citizens expect the right balance between personal freedom and law & order ensured by the government
- As a partner – where citizens expect the government to take the citizen’s role seriously in policy creation, planning and economic development, social services, and education
- As a resident – where the citizens expect comfortable residences that are well equipped and well connected with transportation and other services
- As a taxpayer – citizens expect the government to spend tax revenue wisely and efficiently
AI and machine learning for a better future
With all stakeholders acting in concert, supporting coordinated partnerships, governance, and infrastructure investment, advanced data and technology backbones become the lifeblood of the 21st-century smart city driven by cloud, AI, ML, CV, IoT, and 5G architectures tapping virtually unrealized potential in urban quality of life. The application of technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning has become a crucial element in such cities.
Smart traffic management
Today, almost every smart city uses or plans to use AI to monitor traffic density and mitigate traffic accidents. Computer vision-powered cameras and sensors installed at various locations like parking lots and traffic signals use AI to collect intelligence for urban planning and development initiatives. AI keeps counts of all pedestrian and vehicle movements, including monitoring their speed. Computer vision-powered cameras and sensors integrated with machine learning algorithms carry out facial recognition and process satellite data and images to discover and establish patterns essential for the city’s planning and development.
AI offers innumerable possibilities for the healthcare industry, including appointment setting, managing medical records, bed status checks, medical diagnosis, smart medical inventory management, and surgical assistance, to name a few. AI and its related technologies help cure ailments and prevent them through early detection and prediction.
Smart security and surveillance
Advanced cameras and sensors powered with AI and machine learning keep an eye on surroundings to enhance security levels across the city. These cameras identify people and track any unusual movement or activity with facial recognition and object detection. High-resolution cameras also track vehicle plates, correlating them with historical data, while police forces predict crime rates, locations, and patterns by monitoring these activities.
Smart waste management system
Cities gather large amounts of waste (in the form of solid, liquid, gas), and disposing of these is a tedious and challenging task for authorities. Waste management is the disposal and demolition of such waste effectively, efficiently, and environmentally friendly. A smart waste management system includes AI-powered cameras and sensors to help track waste, sort by digestible and indigestible using convolutional neural networks (CNNs). AI, deep learning, and IoT provide an advanced solution for classification and real-time data monitoring and sorting, resulting in improved sanitation process, reduced equipment emissions, maximized process efficiency, and reduced cost.
The technologies that drive smart cities are required to process vast amounts of data from an ever-increasing array of sources while extracting actionable intelligence for promoting and maintaining a healthier environment, improving public transportation, optimizing the delivery and management of energy, and guaranteeing the general health, safety, and welfare of citizens. AI, machine learning, computer vision, and IoT technologies play a crucial role in powering the systems that manage smart cities.
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