This study is focused on the illustrating the concept of Smart city along with the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and application for smart cities. It is estimated that by the year 2050, around 70% population of the world will reside in cities and nearby urban areas. The increase in population within the urban environments has given rise to increase in demand of proper infrastructure and services to fulfill requirements of the residents. Hence, Smart city is considered as one the vital solution that will help to cater the needs of citizens. This concept includes the use of information and communication technologies for making the cities smarter and providing better services. The implementation of the IoT is making progress in increasing smartness of a city as it is considered as global network of interconnected objects.
The cities are becoming smart than the past through the expansion in use of digital technologies. The use of various equipment and electronic devices are making the cities smarter with the increasing demand for better infrastructure and services (Talari et al., 2017). Cameras for monitoring and surveillance purposes, sensors in transportation systems and various other electronic equipment are implemented in cities to meet the increasing demand from the population. The quality of life is being improved in urban areas with the help of information and communication technologies. The use of technology is helping to manage the utilization of limited resources in an efficient manner (Zanella et al., 2014). Most of the systems being used in smart cities comprises of sensors, device for data storage along with comp
uters at based station that are used by experts for analyzing data. The evolution of social networking is s suitable example that reflects the use of digital technology at the end user level. The applications of technology in urban environment has significant impact on the various areas such as healthcare and wellbeing, transportation systems and other critical services for the citizens. IoT is being widely used in the smart cities to improve the infrastructure and services required for the enhancing the life quality of citizens in urban areas.
IoT technologies for smart cities
According to Gubb et al. (2013), IoT is considered as broadband network that employs protocols for standard communications where the Internet is referred as the convergence point. The concept behind IoT is the widespread existence of objects that can be measured, inferred and are able to modify particular situation. The IoT is emerging as a widespread technology with the expansion of various equipment or electronic devices. The things related to IoT are mobile phones, electronic devices, sensors and other equipment can collaboratively help to achieve desired objective. The main motive of IoT is to have impact on the life of consumers such that the increasing demand for services can be easily fulfilled (Rathore et al., 2016). The cost associated with cabling of sensors used in IoT is high hence, it is essential that communication between the sensors are carried out through wireless medium. Some of the networks has been classified below in terms of location as well as distance coverage:
- Home Area Networks (HAN) – This network makes use of short-range standards that is ZigBee, Dash7 and Wi-Fi. Every component in a home for monitoring and controlling are connected through this network.
- Wide Area Networks (WAN) – This network is used for establishing communication among customers and the distribution utilities (Fortino & Trunfio, 2014). It provides wide coverage than HAN hence the implementation has to be carried out through fiber cable or other broadband networks such as 3G and LTE.
- Field Area Networks – This type of network is used to establish communication among the customers and substations.
Basically, there are two tasks performed by IoT that is sensing and processing of data however those are not being unified from the viewpoint of a wireless sensor network (WSN). It has been identified that cloud is an essential requirement for development of smart cities as data storage and processing facilities has to be incorporated to fulfill the desired objectives (Jin et al., 2014). Some of the technologies related to IoT that can be implemented for development of smart city are discussed in this below section.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID): It comprises of readers and tags that has a vital role to play in the IoT framework (Hui, Sherratt & Sanchez, 2017). This technology helps in automatic identification and provides some applications in various areas such as smart grids, healthcare sector, parking lots along with asset management.
Near Field Communication (NFC): It is used for bidirectional communication at short distances especially in mobile phones. The range of it is in centimeters and it is being widely used in smart cities as smartphones are being used almost by every people in urban areas (Perera et al., 2014). It can be also used in homes to control the status of objects by placing NFC at a suitable strategic position.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN): This network is able to ensure availability of proper data that can be used for various applications to support healthcare, government as well as environmental services (Thapliyal, 2018). This network comprises of wireless sensor nodes that includes a radio interface, an ADC (Analog to digital converter), multiple sensors, memory as well as power supply. It consists of various type of sensors for measuring data in analog format that are converted to digital data with the help of ADC.
Dash7: It is referred to as standard for WSN that can be used in long distance as well as low power sensing application for instance building automation and logistics. It is being effectively used in military applications especially for the construction of substations.
3G and LTE (Long Term Evolution): Both are considered as the standards for carrying out wireless communications used by mobile phones and data terminals (Ahmed et al., 2016). This technologies are being used for broadband connectivity and are applied in WAN’s as it comprises of long range communications.
Platforms and standards for Smart Cities
A novel communication between machines is constructed as result of relationship between physical and IT infrastructure for smart cities. The platforms being developed for smart cities support the requirements of communication among technologies as well as application suppliers. The platforms also help to develop IoT with the help of real world sensors and the communication networks (Holler et al., 2014). One of the most widely used platform is openMTC that has been extracted from the latest ETSI standards being utilized for smart machine to machine specification. This platform offers a compliant middleware platform for the machine to machine applications and development of smart city.
IoT applications for smart cities
Internet is being used by IoT for merging various heterogeneous things and the existing things or objects should be linked to the Internet. The major reason behind this fact is that sensor networks are included in smart cities. The intelligent appliances should be connected to the Internet as it is required for remote monitoring and their treatment such as monitoring of power usage for improving the use of electricity, management of light and air conditioner (Li, Da Xu & Zhao, 2015). This aim is achieved through sensors that are implemented at various locations for gathering and analysis of data for improving the utilization of electronic devices. The potential of IoT in building smart city is wide and some of such instances are provided in this below section.
Smart Homes: The data that are being provided by the various sensors could be used for analyzing and observing smart homes. In this context, IoT can be used for monitoring and controlling the electronic devices or equipment within homes such as TV, light, fan, air conditioner, home security system and many more (Mehmood et al., 2017). The sensors being applied in the appliances monitors the conditions and environment so that the data can be sent to the central controller. The data can be used by the householder to maintain the necessary environment using appropriate measures. This concept has already been in practice and emerging widely for maintaining energy requirements of the people in urban areas.
Smart Parking Lots: This concept is used for tracking the data on arrival and departure of various cars in parking lots of the city. This service comprises of road sensors along with intelligent displays that provides best path or parking spots to drivers in the city (Whitmore, Agarwal & Da Xu, 2015). The major benefit of this concept is to find a parking spot faster and reducing the combustion of fuel which means that there will be less Co emission and traffic congestion.
Healthcare Facilities: IoT technologies have various advantages in terms of healthcare facilities in smart cities. IoT helps to keep track of various objects related to healthcare that is patient, ambulance, people identification along with gathering and sensing of data (Arasteh et al., 2016). The patient data or various other asset related to healthcare can be used for saving time and cost along with providing better services to the people.
Transportation systems: The information about vehicular traffic has significant contribution in smart cities that can be used for proper analysis and implementing appropriate measures. The residents can also access the traffic information for their comfort and monitoring of traffic will be implemented through IoT sensor nodes (Mandula et al., 2015). The IoT sensors will acquire data from various location and send to a central controller so that the traffic can be managed efficiently.
Current trends and future considerations
The fast urbanization and globalization in the world is giving rise to development of smart cities. WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) is evolving as a major technology in IoT and the testbed activities on the technology have offered valuable information related to architecture, security, networking along with handling of critical data for the supporting large scale IoT applications. The tests being carried out mainly focuses on targeted applications and the communication backbone while other resources are not being shared. It is eventually a costly procedure as it incurs high cost as well as complication but also provides vital information required for large scale deployments. Presently, various IoT activities are emerging in the world as a major phenomenon for easier access to services. The goal of IoT based smart city is to implement smart objects that support plug and play such that it could be deployed in any atmosphere. The smart objects will be implemented with interoperable backbone so that those can be merged with existing smart objects. There are various obstacles that may hinder the goal that is architecture, energy efficiency, security and privacy. Despite of the challenges, the benefits and applications of IoT is wide in terms of cost and efficiency in the development of smart city.
The progress that has been made in the development of Smart city with the help of IoT is undeniable and there are wide variety of applications that can be implemented to improve the life quality in urban areas. The people in urban areas are adopting mobile as well as information and communication technologies for easier access to the services. The implementation of IoT in the urban environment will help to improve the process or services that are being offered by smart cities. The development of smart city can be processed well with the help of effectively using the features of IoT system. The various technologies and applications of IoT for smart cities has been demonstrated in this study which reflects a great potential of IoT in development of smart city. A proper business model of smart city is an essential element for the development of smart city rather than just implementing technological advancement.
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