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What Are Smart Cities and the Role of Blockchain In Smart Cities?

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What Are Smart Cities and the Role of Blockchain In Smart Cities?

IT experts have designed smart cities to develop, deploy, and promote sustainable development practices.

Now, what are smart cities? 

A smart city is a framework mostly composed of Information and Communication Technologies or ICT to address growing urbanization challenges.

A considerable part of a smart city framework or an ICT framework is that it consists of an intelligent network of connected objects and machines. 

These machines transmit information through cloud applications and with the use of wireless technology. 

Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze, and manage all this data in real-time, which helps municipalities, enterprises, and citizens make better decisions. 

The use of smart phones and connected cars and homes citizens engage with smart city ecosystems. 

A way to cut costs and improve sustainability is to pair devices with the city’s physical infrastructure and services. 

With the help of a smart city framework, we can find solutions to many community problems. For instance: 

  • Traffic lights connected to cloud-based applications can receive data from sensors and cars. In return, light cadence and timing in response to real-time traffic can improve, which reduces road congestion
  • Parking meters and electric vehicles charging docks can communicate with cars to find the nearest available spot
  • With the help of smart garbage cans synced to waste management companies, garbage is collected and scheduled to be picked up when needed instead of the pre-planned schedule
  • Instead of plastic cards for driver’s licenses and ID cards, citizen’s smart phones take their place. In return, access to the city and local government services are speed-up and simplified

Together, smart city frameworks help in optimizing infrastructure, public service, utilities, and mobility.

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Why Are Smart Cities Being Built?

Urbanization is a problem faced by every country all over the world. 

According to statistics, 54% of the total population of the world lives in cities. The number is estimated to reach 66% by 2050. 

Over the next three decades, urbanization will make another 2.5 billion people migrate to cities, and to keep up with this rapid expansion, environmental, economic, and social sustainability is a must. 

Smart cities can provide such a framework to rely on.

Examples of smart cities  

AMSTERDAM SMART CITY:

A shining example of a well-connected smart city would be Amsterdam. The initiative of making Amsterdam a smart city began in 2009, and it includes over 170 projects. 

It sends traffic and transportation data to related parties such as developers who create mapping apps connected to the city’s transportation system. 

Due to this, navigating the city is simple and easy. The smart city infrastructure supports a floating village of houses, which helps with urbanization with a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative.

COPENHAGEN SMART CITY:

One of the smallest cities in the world, Copenhagen, is known worldwide for its mobilizing expertise. 

In collaboration with MIT, Copenhagen is leveraging open data to build an innovative bike system. 

Real-time data is shared to monitor and manage air quality as well as traffic congestion.

How Do Smart Cities Become Successful?

Along with people, dwellings, businesses, and traditional urban infrastructure, we will need four other essential elements to enable smart cities to succeed. The four elements are:

  •     Security that can be trusted
  •     Flexible monetization schemes
  •     Open information
  •     Extensive wireless connectivity

Risks   

Probably the most significant concern about smart cities is the danger of privacy breaches. 

Governments, businesses, and individuals spend millions of dollars on preventing leakage of data to outsiders, and as little as possible is shared. 

The key enabler of sustainability in smart cities would be the complex ecosystem that shares information and combines it in real-time. 

Only with the cooperation of multiple sectors can better and sustainable outcomes be achieved and to receive real-time contextual information, while making sure data is kept secured. 

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Role of Blockchain in Smart Cities

blockchainThe role of smart cities is to incorporate technology as the groundwork to take the edge off the problems that plague the current system. 

Examples of current smart city capabilities are universal identification (ID), green energy, water, pollution management, forms of transportation, wireless internet systems, and promotion of local businesses, to name a few. 

The ‘Internet of Things’ serves the current technology needs of smart cities; this term is used to define the integrated network of gadgets with planted exclusive identifiers. Examples include traffic management and e-commerce. 

A traffic management program called SCOOT improves green light time at intersections by providing inductive loop and magnetometer data to a supercomputer, in London, coordinating the traffic lights to enhance the traffic across the city. 

An astounding forty-seven thousand new jobs in Barcelona were created due to the implementation of a network of fiber optics that provides free and fast Wi-Fi, which supports the IoT and the integration of smart parking, lighting, and water management. 

In Amsterdam, the IoT-based infrastructure was tested by allowing traffic flow, public safety, and energy usage to be monitored and tweaked depending on real-time data. Moreover, cities like Baltimore and Boston have introduced smart trash cans that transfer information to determine the best pickup route for garbage disposal crew. 

India was the pioneer country to successfully enact a smart city project across 12 of its cities, in the year 2015. 

All of the above examples demonstrate the reliance on IoT infrastructure and blockchain can make IoT become more resilient and efficient.  

It is evident that Blockchain gives the groundwork for the management of transactions by providing security and transparency. 

Today many smart cities have a large scale Blockchain implementation or distributed ledger technology. 

By the next year, Dubai is aiming to become the first Blockchain-powered smart city in the world.

Since 2012, Estonia has used distributed ledger technology to keep records of its citizens. 

Companies like Hancom are the emerging suppliers of services and products related to IoT hardware for smart city development. 

The Hancom group will incorporate Blockchain technology to set up a 470-acre smart city development project in Gapyeong Malang Malang, as the basis for smart city development. 

This company also developed the 30-acre Augury Square in Atlanta, which will incorporate the use of cryptocurrency, pushing forward the usage of digital currency into the daily lives of its inhabitants. 

Information collected and kept in a cloud-based framework can be encoded by a Blockchain system to ensure the security of data in a smart city. 

Blockchain can be used for identification, for proof of citizenship, tax data, voting, to name a few. 

The elimination of paperwork in such a system helps to manage and reduce pollution in smart cities. 

Other services that can incorporate Blockchain in smart cities are: 

  •     Use of internet sensors to identify general repairs and road maintenance
  •     They connect to healthcare services for emergencies
  •     They are providing first responders with pertinent medical data
  •     Connection of residential utilities and rent to the Blockchain

Blockchain provides the framework to unite the services in a single system capable of tracking, security, immutability, transparency and above all SECURITY.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. Stay safe and healthy!

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