IoT is one of the driving technologies behind the smart city concept and is poised to be a key component in facilitating sustainable urban development. More than half of the world population lives in urban areas today and cities account for more than 70 percent of global carbon emissions and 60-80% of energy consumption. As urban populations have increased, services have overall deteriorated in terms of both quantity and quality, with rapid urbanization giving rise to increased challenges around things like traffic congestion, water contamination, and most importantly, social inequality.
Municipalities are leveraging IoT technology to connect devices, infrastructure, and people. It is being used to address challenges that range from waste management and water conservation to traffic, air pollution, and power grids. By leveraging IoT technologies, cities are able to successfully manage their growing populations by improving quality of life and the efficiency of urban operations and services, while also increasing competitiveness and addressing economic, social, environmental, and cultural needs.
The top priorities for some of the world’s leading smart cities include:
- Connected public transport (74%)
- Traffic monitoring and management (72%)
- Water level / flood monitoring (72%)
- Video surveillance and analytics (72%)
- Connected streetlights (68%)
- Weather monitoring (68%)
- Air quality / Pollution monitoring (68%)
- Smart metering – water (66%)
- Fire / smoke detection (66%)
- Water quality monitoring (64%)
Let’s take a closer look at some of the areas where cities are leveraging IoT technology to address challenges, and how things could play out as solutions evolve:
Retrofitting existing building stock
Every year, nearly 5 billion square meters of buildings are retrofitted. Retrofitting existing building stock is an effective approach when dealing with limited budgets, aging structures, and energy accountability, as it helps reduce energy costs, improves equipment performance, and extends the lifetime of the building.
If we look at energy, in the EU, buildings are responsible for 40% of total energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. Retrofitting ageing building stock presents a major opportunity to not just reduce carbon emissions, but to also reduce operating costs and provide more comfortable and healthier buildings for citizens. Retrofitting also has significant job generation potential.