Smart Cities Connect With, and Provide Services for, People
The Layers of Business in a Smart City |
Article by Jane Marsh |
Smart cities connect with citizens and allow them to have the entire municipality at their fingertips, no matter where they are. Smart cities can offer a higher quality of life by automating certain tasks while retaining some elements everyone is used to. There are over 170 smart cities in the world right now, and that number will continue to grow as people see the value in interconnected communities that focus on green living.
Smart cities come in several layers. Many of them intersect and work with one another to keep a community working like a well-oiled machine. These layers form something extraordinary: an independent smart city that connects its users and makes life easier for every citizen.
Service and Value
At the heart of the smart city are the service and value layers. These jobs encompass much of what you might think of as the "service industry" — things like waitstaff at restaurants and retail store employees. These people are vital to society, as they help it function on a fundamental level. Even without all the smart Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, communities rely on the individuals who provide value.
People become more reliant on the knowledge they can learn from IoT as technology evolves. Ideally, tourism will boom in smart cities thanks to their connectivity and convenience. Tourists can rely on smart speakers to give them an authoritative glance at all they need to know about the city's history. This information might be pre-recorded or a knowledgeable employee could answer questions and guide visitors through an area or exhibit in real-time.
The service and value industry doesn't stop there. More service-based businesses will become automated. Places such as laundromats will be able to operate according to user desires, similar to the original self-service model, but without limitations. People may find that even their daily tasks are completed more quickly thanks to full automation. Companies at this level will always provide a service to the user.
This level of a smart city encompasses transportation and connection, and is perhaps best represented by sustainable mass transit and IoT technologies. This layer can be divided into two based on either connecting citizens to the city around them, or providing connection to other people. Accessibility levels of smart cities also help protect sensitive user info. Workers at his layer wear many hats and comprise several occupations.
Smart cities still need people to help citizens get to where they need to go. People retain personal options like cars, but families who take public transportation save upwards of $6,000 every year on gas and maintenance fees. Smart cities help people become greener by offering a variety, including automated (and regular) sustainable transit options. You'll be able to get around on foot, with a public transportation system, or with your car (ideally an electric vehicle).
The businesses that run public transport and troubleshoot internet connectivity issues sometimes do perform a service, but they differ from the first layer. They actively help individuals connect with something else about the city, whether the landscape or the people within it. They hold together the social sphere that can influence how others navigate.
Policymakers set goals for the smart city. They could draft a new green initiative and hand it over to their partners to implement and maintain. Most cities have some form of policymaker already in the form of a town council or a mayor. Those in smart cities have to be aware of the politics and composition of their towns, and they also should be experts in environmentally friendly design.
Policymakers in smart cities are likely to set more eco-friendly guidelines for companies to follow. Small businesses that operate out of the smart city may have to find a way to reduce their carbon emissions and integrate technology to help make their customers' lives easier. Policymakers should search for a middle ground that benefits business owners and consumers.
Data and Management
Data analysis and management make up another layer of every smart city. Behind every day in an almost fully automated city are the professionals who know how to keep IoT technology running. Analysts collect information from citizens and visitors to understand what the city is missing or what it can improve upon. If people complain about too much pollution from vehicles, they can push for electric cars, carpooling or greener methods like biking.
Those tasked with managing data have to ensure it's safe. Smart cities may have a target on them for cyberattacks because of how interconnected everything is. Data managers may also develop business models that show citizens that cities are sustainable and can hold their value over time and not just be a gimmick.
What Makes a Smart City?
Smart cities rely on IoT technology to get difficult jobs done. IoT technologies automate processes that seem outdated or tedious, and they connect anyone and everyone to one another in the blink of an eye. You might see something like free Wi-Fi on every downtown street. Above all, they help pave the way for a more sustainable future with eco-friendly buildings and goals that can help halt climate change.
A smart city doesn't have to look like it jumped out of a sci-fi novel. Singapore might be the most well-known smart city — though dense, it uses every bit of data to improve the lives of its citizens. As smart cities become more popular, you should see new developments like implementing green, renewable energy and avoiding environmental damage. Residents can appreciate the small things, like knowing traffic patterns in real-time, thanks to technology.
Smart Cities Are Like Regular Cities, Only Smarter
Smart cities sound futuristic, but many modern-day communities are moving toward adopting more eco-friendly and tech-savvy practices (such as IoT technologies). Business permits in smart cities will operate much as they do in regular ones — but with a higher cost. Companies will likely be asked to prioritize the security of user data and integrate technology to keep the town as functional as possible.
Everyone is held to a higher standard in smart cities, and businesses are no different. Companies will have a lot to live up to as they pursue greener goals alongside the communities they're based in.
Article by Jane Marsh
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of
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