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Smart City IoT Projects: Success Stories From Around the World

Smart cities hold, as we have affirmed before, some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring demonstrations of the Internet of Things solutions. To paint a clear picture of the possibilities that come with connected devices and technology in the densely populated urban environments, in today’s post, we present a handful of pivotal Smart City IoT projects. As the world moves towards urbanization, the increasing number of smart initiatives and projects surface to tame the pressure and create new experiences for city residents. It’s in this context that the Internet of Things (IoT) platforms are used for monitoring infrastructures, mobility, air and water quality, etc. For starters, we should try to outline the prominence that IoT holds in the smart city context and vice versa. Whether we describe IoT as the veins spread all across the city and connecting a variety of devices, or we prefer to use the metaphor of blood that runs around and keeps the city alive and kicking, IoT solutions and smart cities have become inextricably linked. On the other hand, as we can observe below, smart cities made up almost one-quarter of the global IoT projects in 2018. All in all, IoT and smart cities make quite a perfect match.The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System partnered with Cisco, Davra Networks, and Intel to tackle the maintenance, management, service and security challenges in a smart way. For a data-driven IoT system to come to life, a multiplayer ecosystem collaboration was the only solution to guarantee the actual interoperability of different hardware and software components and the transit system assets. The project itself came with specific requirements, like the long bus routes (up to 100 miles from the downtown and back) or monitoring the special needs related to punctual events. Thanks to the collaboration they have established a dynamic estimated time of arrival (ETA) system at all bus and train stations and on the vehicles themselves. It also supports a passenger announcement (PA) system in the stations and informs MTS about predictive maintenance, monitoring of environments for security and safety and near-real-time display of alerts and notifications. How does it work? The process uses a Cisco router that is powered by an Intel® processor on board of each bus and train. These devices have a GPS antenna to capture information every 5 seconds and are linked to a cellular network that sends it over the backhaul to the back office of San Diego MTS where it is included in a database. That permits to process the information almost instantaneously through the Davra Networks algorithm that then proposes the ETAs based on that data.The capital of South Korea has made itself a name of being a city based on data and using ICTs across the city’s fabric to make a difference for all its citizens. But to make good use of the information out there, the data must first be gathered. With that in mind, Seoul has installed a wide array of sensors all over the city: detectors for measuring traffic flow, speed and air quality as well as CCTV cameras. By 2022, they wish to deploy a further 50,000 IoT sensors to monitor fine dust, wind direction, noise, vibration, and floating population. Since 2017, Seoul has been operating the first Digital Civic Mayor’s Office, a system that includes information from 290 sources to provide the mayor with insights all over the city for better decision-making. Mayor has in his office a large smart display that offers real-time data dashboards and visualizations of statistics related to people’s daily lives, such as air pollution index, water quality, market indices, etc. The same applies to accidents and disasters that might occur in the city and of which mayor must be aware of.

Since 2019, the same system was also made available to the citizens of Seoul to access real-time information on public shared bicycles and walking paths/parks, as well as a to consult the current list of disputes and mediations, home nurses, district offices, and Seoul’s list of future legacy. In case of an emergency, they will be able to consult the CCTV footage nearest to their location. Various touchscreen televisions have been installed in subway stations also with the purpose of providing the citizens with an access point for consulting the system.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Digital Civic Mayor’s Office took also the center stage during video conferences with other world leaders to discuss the solutions and share the measures taken in South Korea's capital city.As we have seen above, IoT is all about including the citizens and making sure they get the most out od the services provided to them. And with more smart cities sprouting from America to Asia, the technology industry must be ready to develop new applications and solutions for the cities of the future according to their needs.

Find out more about data in cities and its use for potential projects! 


Zigurat Global Institute of Technology