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Creating Smart Cities using Big Data and Internet of Things

The idea of “Smart City” is to implant technology and data collection into things and turning “Internet of Things” into a reality. This technology will help smarten our city’s infrastructure, helping citizens in day to day tasks.

Studies show that by the year 2025 there will be an expenditure of $600 billion a year to build smart cities. Every object will have an IP address of its own via sensors connected to it. These sensors in turn, will always exchange data on the cloud via the internet.

Cities will fetch answers using Big Data like, amount of traffic rolling at a particular stoplight, areas where the trash can is full and ready to be picked up or how much water is being utilized every day. This type of information can be collected through any wearables, smartphones, cameras, or sensors and moved to the cloud for processing, analysis and action.

Technologists and analysts are on a discovery path to get answers on how to use cloud, technology and data collected to make efficient and cost-effective cities. The current model adopted for the Internet of Things is to attract businesses to develop software and hardware applications in this domain. Also the model encourages businesses to put their creativity for the greater good and make cities safer, smarter, and more sustainable.

Internet of Things is already happening; here are some of the most enchanting ways that cities are incorporating Big Data and the Internet of Things to improve quality of life.
  1. Los Angeles is controlling traffic lights and lessening traffic congestion with this technology. The city is using traffic cameras and magnetic road sensors to control around 4,500 traffic signals in the city. This technology has reduced traffic cramming as much as 16 percent.
  2. Porto, a city in Portugal, with the help of a tech startup, Veniam, is testing a new way to create mobile Wi-Fi hotspots all over the city. This technology company has installed Wi-Fi transmitters in over 600 city buses and taxis, thus creating the largest Wi-Fi hotspot in the world. These routers provide free Wi-Fi to its citizens as a public utility. The data collected from internet usage can be used to offset the cost of Wi-Fi in other areas. For instance, the sensors installed in the city help waste management and save man-hours by identifying which garbage cans actually need emptying.
  3. New York is set to be the world’s first “quantified community”. All the residents and environmental details will be tracked and help city management in monitoring pedestrian traffic flow. Also, it will analyze how much solid waste is collected and how much is recyclable. This system will also collect data on residents’ health and activity levels through a mobile app.
  4. “Smart water meters” are being used in the city of Long Beach, California to detect illegal watering in real-time. This will aid homeowners and is predicted to cut their water usage as much as 80 percent. This is a necessity when cities are going through an acute drought and the government is imposing tough restrictions on water usage.
  5. Xcel Energy installed smart meters in customers’ homes to test the “smart grid” in the city of Boulder, Colorado. This will allow users to have a look at their energy usage in real-time by logging into a website. This smart grid will help power companies to predict future usage and help in better planning for forthcoming infrastructure and energy requirements.
  6. Songdo, a city South Korea has also taken a step forward for better organization of trash collection. The city is partnering with Cisco to convert solid waste into fuel by sorting, recycling, burying, or burning the dump. Cisco is also testing home appliances and utilities to connect and be controlled via smartphone
These examples are just the beginning of a bright future we have ahead. With the integration of big data and the Internet of things, our cities will become smarter, generate data producing useful information, and revolutionize our living.