The smart start to building future cities

Those tasked with building future cities have a lot of work to do if urban development is going to keep up with population growth. According to the World Bank, 50% of the world’s population today live in cities. By 2045, it is expected that these global populations will increase to 1.6 billion people. They expect that seven out of ten people will inhabit cities. This means that leaders and planners need to start building future cities to provide services, infrastructure, and housing to meet the needs of growing urban areas.

Smart buildings are rapidly growing in popularity, with smart building monitoring solutions giving detailed insights into the functionality of buildings and the people who occupy them. This data provides an opportunity to make buildings work according to the way that they are used. In doing so, they can be used more economically, in a more environmentally friendly way, and in ways that foster factors for peak performance.

Smart cities of the world will use these smart solutions as a premise to optimise how we live and function within them. By making adjustments around patterns and evidenced behaviour, those responsible for building, governing, and managing the cities of the future will have a potent tool for strategic adaptability, performance, and delivery.

What are smart buildings and smart cities?

There is no single definition of smart cities. However, points of commonality include a structure of smart, interconnected technologies that are used to optimise daily processes, guide development, confront and overcome challenges, and make for sustainable and resource-conserving systems.

When it comes to the kind of technology used in smart cities, it is a rule of quality over quantity that governs their success. A variety of technologies are used in smart cities of the world, but the Internet of Things (IoT) is a superlative application for data collection, cloud-based reporting, and the potential for integrated smart technologies, artificial intelligence, and other tech and applications.

Simply put, smart city technology (like the smart city solutions from Smarter Technologies Group) enables the collection and reporting of real-time data. Ideally, these solutions need to be scalable to accommodate increased uptake and usage within smart cities. Especially as data sources accumulate and AI functionality is increased, this will require highly secure communication systems to avoid criminal activity and abuse. A zero-trust network – like Smarter Technologies Group’s Orion Data Network – is recommended for data security.

This collected and reported data is then open for analysis and action – and the time scale of this could be anything from emergency responses to long-term strategy.

What’s the difference between smart buildings and smart cities?

Smart buildings are components of smart cities. They encompass shopping malls, universities, airports, and council housing, tower blocks, homes, and offices – and many other elements between. Smart cities – overseen by governmental bodies, with the assistance of data analysts – rely on the public and private sector to work in tandem to achieve true, interconnected smart cities. Solutions that allow input from and engagement with individuals within the smart city environment will also contribute to the success of the systems.

Why do we need to build smart cities?

City living is a hallmark of the future

Population growth. Stat on expected cities in future. Population growth and city-intensive population habitation are going to require streamlined operational systems for service delivery, quality of life for residents, efficient use of infrastructure, and ease of governance.

Smart city technology improves the quality of life for citizens

Smart technologies within smart cities impact various areas of life. At a baseline level, streamlined utilities and infrastructure affect home and work – from transport to roads and bridges. Smart technologies act as a stop gap when it comes to ageing and failing infrastructure. This helps citizens to go about their daily lives without interruptions caused by population growth and its effects.

Smart solutions have the potential to create safer, well-managed, and accountable communities. It also acts as a strong catalyst for engagement between citizens and government. This digital engagement serves individuals and businesses equally – with streamlined processes and planning. This is good news for entrepreneurs and business owners and creates economic development opportunities.

Smart cities solutions empower more responsive and effective governments

Governments also stand to enjoy many advantages from the adoption of smart technologies. Firstly, it creates clear insights into where budgets should be applied to best effect. This means public resources would be put to their best use – which increases standards of healthcare, education, transportation, and other services.

Smart technologies present predictive and preventative insights to keep cities running smoothly and parallel to changes. They also allow for greener decision-making, as well as optimised utilities, city safety, and administration.

Building smart cities supports economic growth

Smart technologies affect how – and the ease with which – people work in the built environment. Where cities innovate, GDP growth tends to follow. There are many reasons for this. Smart investment in cities by governments and the private sector has the potential to attract new and exciting talent – allowing for the emergence of new ideas and economic growth potential. Additionally, efficiency of manufacturing, sustainable operations, and increased productivity are strong drivers for economic development.

The city of the future is green – using smart solutions for sustainable systems

What can be effectively monitored can be effectively managed. Smart technologies allow for granular, real-time data readings that have an impact on many different environmental factors. Energy consumption is one area where smart technologies are empowering understanding about usage and changes for boosted efficiencies. As the world turns its focus to electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, and the fight against climate change, smart technologies are powerful in the simplicity of their application.

This network of sensors and pressure pads can also report across various metrics. Another example is air quality. As air quality levels change, so leaders could identify pollution sources, make changes, and work towards citizen health and wellbeing.

Utilities and waste

With urban growth comes a need for more energy. This comes with concerns for the levels of emissions. The consistency of our power production relies on an understanding of demand and patterns of behaviour around peak usage. The shift to renewables adds an extra layer of complexity when it comes to planning production, preventing outages, and nurturing an evolving positive relationship with users.

In the spheres of water and power, smart solutions give users notably more control over their utilities both at home and in business. These solutions include smart grids and automated meter infrastructure to name a couple. These smart solutions help consumers to understand and adjust usage and, in the long term, reduce usage and save costs. They can also automate systems around behaviour to reduce waste. An example of this is smart lighting.

Similarly, smart waste stands to streamline everything from bin collection to fleet management. Smart technologies could communicate the right time for bins to be emptied – or alert them to overturned bins – for total resource optimisation. This means enhanced service delivery and cleaner cities. The benefits are widespread – reduced emissions, less wear and tear and associated costs, mitigated congestion, and refined management strategy.


Growing populations also have heightened requirements around medical and old age care. This is where smart technologies come in: they make domestic assisted living a more viable option for more people.

IoT, automation, and smart healthcare also gives hospitals data insights for streamlined supply chains, equipment usage, medical personnel activity, administration, and occupancy. Reduced costs, enhanced efficiencies, and equipment like defibrillator monitors create scope for higher standards of medical care.

Safety and security

Smart cities are set to be a hub for safer and more secure citizens. Features like smart access control systems and public safety monitoring make easy gains for citizen security – with alerts around unusual behaviour and increased traceability.

On the safety front, they can also be employed in myriad ways. For example, while natural disasters cannot be controlled, smart technologies provide information on ageing infrastructure, creating a picture of those buildings that will be most damaged and empowering pre-emptive moves. It also guides responses in an emergency.

As above, it can also create alerts around undesirable air quality levels or dangerous traffic or transport conditions. This, in turn, plays a role in citizen safety.

Maintenance and Infrastructure

The effect of ageing infrastructure is sure to be felt more acutely as populations grow. Smart technologies inform authorities on everything from leaky pipes and potholes to required repairs to public buildings. They have the potential to optimise the function of tower blocks and housing developments, public transport and traffic, city planning and parking planning into the future, and power and water infrastructure.

What are some examples of smart cities?

Smart cities have changed significantly since the first smart cities were created in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, these are some of the smart cities you will find around the world.

  • Vancouver
  • Vienna
  • Singapore
  • Barcelona
  • Dubai
  • London
  • Hong Kong
  • Melbourne
  • New York
  • Reykjavik
  • San Diego
  • Tokyo
  • Toronto
  • Columbus, USA

Building future cities with Smarter Technologies Group

Smarter Technologies Group provides simple, scalable, powerful solutions for smart buildings and smart cities of the world.

Contact Smarter Technologies Group today for more information.