The dynamic use of knowledge to improve both the use of scarce resources and a higher quality of life for its citizens is the hallmark of a smart city.
Advances in wireless sensor systems, information and communication technology (ICT), and infrastructure allow cities to collect and curate huge amounts of data capable of sustaining and improving urban life thanks to the growing web of connected technology, the so called Internet of Things (IoT).
The evolution of IoT will result in a seamless physical-digital sphere that holds a huge promise in the building of smart cities. An example, driverless cars alone won’t solve a city’s traffic problems, but driverless cars that signal street sensors will give city officials the appropriate data to improve traffic patterns.
Cities must also have the infrastructure for efficient data transactions. Indeed, all city services are based on a calculation of where to expend resources. The more data available for these calculations, the more efficient they become. This will require city governments to work in tandem with private companies, whether they manufacture cars or operate garbage dumps.
The challenges facing cities on the path to being smart are large and varied. It will require a new way of thinking, akin to mastering a new language. Nevertheless, modern cities everywhere are moving inexorable toward a future where city governance and urban living will be as connected as the functions on your smartphone.