Smart city technology

What is a smart city? Smart city technology is all around us. However, it is our perception of a smart city that makes this technology hard to identify.

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Smart city technology

By 

Sana Hassan

What is a smart city?

Smart City Technology
Smart City Technology

Smart city technology is all around us. However, it is our perception of a smart city that makes this technology hard to identify. A smart city is a type of city that uses electrical and digital technologies to improve and transform the lives of its citizens. These technologies are used in governmental as well as citizen platforms to enhance the quality of living. It uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to positively impact the community.

Transportation

The characteristics of a smart city include the processes or departments that are digitalized by the use of ICT. One of the major characteristics is transportation technology. In the past, people used to go down to the railway station, bus station, or an agent to book their tickets. Today we can digitally confirm tickets online. In Pakistan, the "Metro Bus Card" system is also an example of ICT. In this way, instead of physical currency, digital e-wallets are used.

Administrative services

Another characteristic is administrative services. These include services like the online renewal of ID cards, licenses, payment of bills, tuition fees, biometric verification, etc. A lot of these services are available all over the world. The next step would be innovation in these existing services.

Conservation of resources

Another important feature of a smart city is the conservation of resources. This includes monitoring energy demand and supply, use of sensors to control light intensity according to the number of cars or pedestrians on the road.

Environmental awareness and public safety

Smart city initiatives also include environmental awareness and public safety. Sensors can be installed in water reservoirs to monitor any bacterial growth. Similarly, the quality of air is also maintained by using digitalized systems. Sanitary systems can be revolutionized by the use of smart city technology. Online data may be used to determine high crime rate areas and deploying forces when necessary. Sensors can issue warnings in case of natural calamities.

Smart buildings

Smart building technology is another feature of a smart city. Online apps are used by the residents of a building. They can alert the management authority in case of any damage or repairs. Attaching sensors to the building can detect any potential wear or tear and notify the officials. Sensors are also used to detect any water leak.

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Smart city technology in Pakistan

In Lahore, "Safe City Project" launched by the government is a step towards a smart city. It allows city-wide surveillance of traffic, identifying any suspicious individual or vehicle. Using safe city cameras police arrested the culprits of the suicide attack that took place in February 2017. E-Challans are another initiative of this project. The safe city infrastructure is also used to monitor everything that happens in the city including protests, traffic jams, fires, explosions, etc. Hence allowing the officials to react in a short time with the right approach.

Difficulties in the establishment of smart city

A complete realization of a smart city requires equal contribution by the people as well as the management. Hence, governments should tell people about the potential benefits of a smart city. If the citizens are aware of the benefits, they are more likely to participate. The opposers of smart city argue that installment of sensors and cameras is a potential invasion of privacy. The government may misuse these facilities to collect personal information. To avoid these complications, the data collected should be anonymized and should not be personally identifiable.

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