We say that a smart city is a city that is driven by a closed-loop information system. What do we mean by that? Smart cities utilize IoT devices to collect data around the city. This data is then analyzed for the sole purpose of better decision making.
This closed-loop of collecting data, data analysis, and decision making is what makes a city smart. With automation, you will save time and that will save you money in the long run.
Let us look at an example of how this closed-loop automation would look in reality. A lot of cities are fighting with traffic problems these days. But what if we can leverage the power of IoT to make it better.
We can achieve this we need IoT sensors installed. This can be physical sensors in the roads which transmit a continuous stream of traffic data around the city. Cities can also utilize existing infrastructure, for example, traffic surveillance cameras. Smart algorithms can analyze live video stream of traffic on the spot and only send small chunks of data into IoT network.
In order to close the information loop and automate decisions we also need to make cities traffic signaling IoT enabled. That way a control center can directly influence the flow of traffic. Electronic road signs are also a way of advanced traffic management.
Sandwiched between our input and output layer is the brains of the operation, the decision making smart algorithms. The wast amount of data flowing into the system is too much for any human or group of them to handle. This is where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning comes into play. These algorithms are able to identify common patterns (like slow traffic or traffic jam) and react to them.
The whole point of all this is to make smart decision that solves the problems not to create new ones. The way traffic management is done in a traditional way is with tuning the length of green/red light duration in the affected areas. But that is often now very efficient as traffic is not a constant and can deviate from average values a lot. A smart city would be able to actually count traffic that goes in and out of junctions. That way it can more efficiently manage it.