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article imageAre smart cities around the world getting smarter?

By Tim Sandle     Oct 26, 2018 in Technology
According to Trend Micro, soon, smart technologies will be universal. This is, however, just the starter in terms of the types of technologies and potentially life-changing innovations that smart cities promise. These trends are captured in a new report.
The question posed by Trend Micro is what does it take to build a smart city? This is an intriguing question, given that more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas, but few of these locales can be considered smart. This also depends on how a smart city is defined and understanding the drivers for this form of urban living.
In terms of the trigger factors, these are societal, governmental, and technological. Emerging trends such as automation, machine learning and the internet of things (IoT) are helping to drive smart city adoption. In terms of definition, this is, perhaps fittingly given the pace of technological innovation, a movable concept. As the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, (a U.K. government agency) states: "The concept is not static, there is no absolute definition of a smart city, no end point, but rather a process, or series of steps, by which cities become more 'liveable' and resilient and, hence, able to respond more quickly to new challenges."
An example of a smart city in development is the Sidewalk Labs initiative of transforming Toronto's Eastern waterfront into what the Google owned company is calling the first 'digital city'. This will, as Digital Journal reports, include using connected services to monitor many aspects within the development, collecting data on everything from inefficient electricity use to foot traffic to popular park benches.
But what is the smart city? Trend Micro has issued a new report reviewing how smart cities. The report is titled "Securing Smart Cities: Moving Toward Utopia with Security in Mind."
Here the characteristics of the smart city are listed as:
Having a networked infrastructure to improve economic and political efficiency and enable social, cultural, and urban development.
Putting underlying emphasis on business-led urban development.
Focusing on social inclusion of various urban residents in public services.
Understanding the crucial role of high-tech and creative industries in long-term urban growth.
According profound attention on the role of social and relational capital in urban development.
Emphasizing social and environmental sustainability.
The report adds that to achieve this, most, if not all, of the following technologies are required:
Ubiquitous computing
Open data
Big data
Geographic information system (GIS)
Cloud computing
Service-oriented architecture
Embedded network
Internet of Things (IoT)
There is also a strong focus on protecting the environment and with sustainability. Examples include ensuring low carbon dioxide emission, implementing a smart gird, having distributed generation and storage; plus energy security, the use of clean and sustainable energy, and energy efficiency. This example demonstrates the depth and complexity of the smart city concept; the Trend Micro report presents further depth and detail.
There is a downside, however, and the report also considers cybersecurity risks that can stem from the smart city model. See the Digital Journal article Can smart cities become “Cybersecurity Cities”?
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