New research sponsored by Intel and published by Juniper Research suggests that smart cities can “give back” 125 hours a year to every resident.
This equates to an entire working week (five 24-hour days), or nearly 16 eight-hour working days.
The report ranks Singapore, London, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago as the world’s smartest cities, with several in China rising up through the top 20 chart as China automates faster than any other nation.
So how do the figures stack up? There are big plusses for mobility, health, and public safety, according to the research.
Mobility: +60 hours a year
Gridlocks in cities causes drivers to lose up to 70 hours a year, according to Juniper Research.
The study shows that an integrated, IoT-enabled infrastructure of intelligent traffic systems, safer roads, directed parking, and frictionless toll and parking payments could give back up to 60 of those hours a year to drivers who would otherwise be stuck in their cars.
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Health: +10 hours a year
Smart cities with connected digital health services can help save people up to 10 hours a year, says the research.
Some of the numerous examples include: wearables and apps that monitor high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and other medical conditions. These help people manage their health better without hospitalisation, and over time may reduce the need to see doctors.
Meanwhile, telemedicine allows contagious disease sufferers to avoid doctors’ surgeries via high-speed video links in the comfort of their own homes. This not only saves the patient time and effort, but also minimises the risk of contagion.
However, it must be said that these initiatives aren’t limited to urban areas, although they will lead to a greater concentration of useful data within them.
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Public Safety: 35 hours a year
Improvements in public safety can help citizens regain a lot of hours, says Juniper Research.
For instance, in Portland, Oregon, (No 12 in the Juniper Smart Cities Index, see below) and San Diego (No 14), Intel has joined forces with GE and AT&T to deploy city-wide smart infrastructures with Current, powered by GE’s CityIQ technology.
Via these city-wide programmes, common street furniture such as street lights can be turned into connected infrastructure beacons that help monitor the pulse of city life, cut costs, design better services, and enable communities to be safer, cleaner, and more sustainable.
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The world’s smartest cities
The research ranks the top 20 smart cities worldwide across four key areas: mobility, healthcare, public safety, and productivity.
Singapore emerges as the overall leader, with London not far behind. New York, San Francisco, and Chicago make up the rest of the top five.
The report says that these cities stand out because of their efforts to connect city municipalities, businesses, and citizens to improve what it calls “liveability”.
San Francisco and Singapore do well in mobility; Chicago, New York, and Singapore all score highly in public safety; while London and Singapore are the leading lights in connected healthcare, says the report.
Finally, Chicago, London, and Singapore all do well in productivity terms – which must be music to the ears of Whitehall, where the British government has been struggling with flatlining productivity growth for years.
The top 20 smart cities
The full list of the top 20 smart cities identified in the report is:
3. New York
4. San Francisco
14. San Diego
15. Rio de Janeiro
16. Mexico City
See the report in full Smart Cities – What’s in it for Citizens?
Internet of Business says
As the report suggests, smart cities aren’t just about making life better for individual citizens – although Gartner has recently published a report saying that citizen benefit is the be-all and end-all of smart-city programmes. That’s good advice.
Smart cities are also data conurbations: locations where millions of people may gather and go about their daily lives, creating a mass of real-time information that can be used to redesign services and create a more sustainable future in terms of resources, energy, and more.