What is a Smart City?
There are many different ways to answer the question “what is a smart city”, as there are a lot of potential factors that can make a city “smart”. However, there is no universally accepted definition of a smart city; it varies between cities and countries, depending on their level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents.
You could say that the common factor between every smart city project in the world is in their ultimate goal: to improve quality of life, or livability, for their citizens.
In this post you’ll learn about:
- The crucial role of data aggregation in building a smart city;
- How surveillance systems can help cities become smarter;
- The six key benefits of smart city projects.
Data is the driver behind a Smart City
Any smart city has a fundamental need for aggregated data to be able to operate, since the “smart” aspect relies on linking a vast amount of information from various sources, and then making sense of it. For example, visual and audio insights can be collected by devices like network cameras, which can then be paired with specialized sensors that measure environmental conditions such as air quality, temperature and humidity, water quality, and noise levels, to name a few.
However, one of the major challenges of building a smart city is to bring this data together, since it often requires breaking down the silos between different city departments. There may be hundreds of cameras for traffic, hundreds for city surveillance, and hundreds within public transport, with very limited cooperation between them. The more silos you can connect, the smarter the city, because you are working with precise, granular insights.
In addition to city departments, the networks of local private businesses can also be integrated. This results in a public-private partnership that ensures the highest level of protection for a city and its citizens. There are already some very successful use cases proving the importance of collaboration between the public and private sector, for example the initiative “Operation Shield” ran in the City of Atlanta.
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Andrea Sorri helps put the 'smart' in Smart Cities for Axis Communications, where he is responsible for key market segments, including Government & Critical Infrastructure & City Surveillance. A ten year veteran of Axis, he is based in the company's Lund, Sweden headquarters but has also worked in Cyprus, Malta, and Israel. When not looking after Axis solutions and blogging about them, Andrea enjoys family life. A native of Italy, he holds a second level college degree in Telecommunication at the Instituto Tecnico Pininfarina in Turin, Italy.