The term “smart city” conjures up a raft of images, from directing people to where they need to go to more efficiently handling chores, from electrical distribution to waste disposal.
Indeed, that’s the challenge. “smart city” is a vague catch-all term that essentially is impossible to precisely define. Almost any electronic means of making urban life better can be called a smart city initiative. At the same time, however, it is quite clear that modern telecommunications and IT are making cities run better.
This slideshow highlights several of those activities. Some are relatively modest and some are ambitious. What’s clear is that groups of very smart people are working to use technology to improve life in the city.
Click through for a list of “smart city” initiatives from around the world.
EcoCité is a $5.2 million real-time data collection project being conducted by IBM, Veolia, universities, businesses, citizens and public utilities. SMBs are invited to enter a contest for use of collected data.
The Aspern Smart City Research is being run in conjunction with Siemens. Aspern, a neighborhood in northeast Vienna, will host intelligent traffic, green buildings and water management. Work will begin Oct. 1 with a $51 million budget.
The SENSIT platform will direct motorists to available parking spaces in the Zoetermeer city center via roadside electronic displays. The project is being run in cooperation with Nedap and Vialis.
The Amsterdam Smart City is a partnership among more than 70 businesses, municipal authorities, citizens and researchers. Goals include building consortiums; identifying and connecting local investment portfolios; development focused on living, working, mobility, and public facilities; and open data.
Urbanflow Helsinki is a project featuring strategically located urban screens offering real-time data and feedback about the city. The screens can show contextual, hyper-local or citywide data.
The Object Tracking/Processing Unit is an urban CCTV surveillance system that analyzes visual patterns to detect crime. It will be widely installed in January and is designed to be a low-cost platform.
Smart City of Mannheim connects every home in the city to a smart energy network. The Smart Grid collects, distributes and acts upon energy usage data.
Google Fiber systems offer asymmetrical 1 Gbps service, 1 terabyte of cloud storage and advanced Wi-Fi including 3×3 MIMO antennas.
Cisco and other companies are collaborating on Think Global Alliance’s Connected Boulevard proof-of-concept project. It features about 200 wireless devices and sensors along Boulevard Victor Hugo. Services include smart parking, waste disposal, light efficiency and environmental monitoring.