Key elements to build a successful smart city


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“Smart City” the term is on everyone’s lips. But, if we were stopped and asked: “what makes a city smart”? Probably, we wouldn’t be able to give an exact answer that would justify the term smart city. So, what exactly is a smart city? 

In general, the concept of a smart city is used as an umbrella term. It refers to an interconnected system of communication and information technologies with the Internet of Things (IoT), which simplifies the management of internal processes of the city and improves the standard of living. The main goal of smart cities is to effectively meet the need of the urban citizens such as the usual payment of the utilities, minimizing the wastes or maintaining safety in the city. It must develop a planning strategy for the present and future, which focuses on obtaining greater sustainability in the environmental, economic and social areas.

There are multiple services that can be offered in the “Smart City”. Among them, here are the key elements that help in building a successful smart city:

  • Connectivity – The first essential element of a smart city is to function seamlessly and have ubiquitous connectivity. With the deployment of a 5G wireless network, we can get faster connections and more reliability and greater capacity at a lower cost. Also, it will enable cities to connect with the infrastructures, devices, and people in a better way. The internet of things (IoT) which can bring millions of devices together will get a major boost from the 5G network. To avoid collisions in the road, 5G can also be directly paired with curbside cameras, sensors, so that it can process without a delay of nano-second to support high-speed vehicles in motion. This connected and smart system will be an effective solution to manage crowds, regulate traffic while providing a wide range of services on a daily basis. This is the first step towards the success of building a smart city.
  • Sharing public and personal data – One of the key elements towards the development and sustainability of the smart cities is the quality of data and the ability to protect them. Based on the given data actions and decisions are taken to build the smart city. So, creating smart cities while protecting the personal data of its citizens is no easy task these days, particularly with growing awareness of the public and concern about how their data is used and shared by the government. Thus, opening and sharing data has become an important issue for the smart city these days. Gradually, Open Data will serve smart cities. While the primary goal of the public and private sectors, as well as government, is to share data to create value and services for citizens, setting up a confidentiality and integrity policy for sensitive information remains paramount. The point here is to ensure that the information used is reliable and above all remain anonymous. Privacy and good security are the keys to gain citizens’ trust in smart cities.
  • Smart Transportation – A smart city is based on connectivity and accessibility. In addition, one of its main features is to allow the storage and transfer of data between roads, vehicles, highways, bridges, traffic lights and even buildings, being able to help the population. While the intelligent transportation system has been around for some time, the latest generation has come with features like congestion prediction, decision analysis and support, and traveler information that have enhanced the current system available.

Many sensors still need to be incorporated into roads, buildings, bridges, poles, and signs to continuously gather data from passing vehicles. All different types of road vehicles need to be able to interact with each other and with interrupted infrastructure.  To do this, urban planners need to go further and work with civil engineers to upgrade their urban infrastructure to incorporate IoT sensors and devices. 


In summary, people, processes, and technology are the three principles for the success of smart city initiatives. Cities must explore their citizens and communities; learn about the processes that drive business, develop policies, and objectives to meet the needs of citizens. Then technologies can be introduced to improve the quality of life and create real economic opportunities. This requires a holistic individual approach that takes into account urban cultures, long-term urban planning, and local regulations. 


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