Smart cities: how does a city become a smart city?

Smart cities: how does a city become a smart city? Smart living: a topic we hear about in the news every week, maybe even every day. The government aims to have rolled out an entire network of digital cities across the Netherlands within several years. And this includes your city.* Little wonder then that the theme of smart cities is high on your agenda. This is only logical, given the rapid growth your city is undergoing. You are facing challenges in relation to energy consumption, mobility, sustainability, health and liveability. To tackle these challenges, you are combining forces with other bodies, businesses and private individuals in order to create a smart city.

But what exactly is a smart city? And how can you build the robust, digital spine needed to both achieve and manage smart cities? In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know.

What is the definition of a ‘smart city’?

A smart city is a city (or region, municipality, village or neighbourhood) controlled and managed using smart information technology and the Internet of Things. A technology is considered ‘smart’ in this sense if it is able to recognise things using sensors and autonomously take steps on the basis of this information.

The aim of smart cities is to increase liveability, sustainability, accessibility and wellbeing within a city (or village, municipality or neighbourhood). Smart city solutions are being applied to tackle challenges in the areas of the environment and power consumption. In addition, these are used to support the quality of life and safety of the inhabitants of the city.

Smart city solutions

Some examples of smart city applications include:

  • Smart waste containers that can send a message through a wireless network when they are almost full. This means the refuse collection truck only needs to visit that container when it is really necessary. What’s more, local residents using the container can use an app to check whether a particular container is full, eliminating unnecessary trips to drop off waste.
  • Smart traffic lights, sensors and cameras that improve the flow of traffic. All the data collected helps achieve more effective management of the flow of people, vehicles and bicycles, which leads to fewer traffic jams and better air quality.
  • Apps that help drivers find empty parking spaces and available electrical charging stations. This prevents unnecessary driving around the city, benefitting both residents and the environment! One third of all traffic in cities is made up of people looking for such things.
  • Street lighting that only comes on when it is busy on the street and when someone passes by. Not only does this save energy, it also enhances the feeling of safety. The same thing can be achieved in homes and commercial buildings.
  • Sensors in the sewers and on groundwater meters. If bad weather is forecast, measures can then be taken to prevent streets from flooding.

How does it work?

It’s all about the data. Making a city ‘smarter’ involves collecting a lot of data. In order to collect this data, the elements of a city are linked together using a network of sensors. The driver behind this is the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things refers to all the various devices connected to the internet. In a smart city, there are lots of these. The data provided by these devices is then used to achieve the most efficient management of that city.

How can we provide the spine of your city?

Such a network of sensors, smart devices and all the data these generate requires good connectivity: a solid digital spine. In other words, reliable IT infrastructure that guarantees that everything can run smoothly, safely and fast. Because – however great your plans for your city, municipality or village – you won’t get far without this firm foundation. Dark Fiber provides just such a foundation.

With Dark Fibre, you create your own connection between various locations. Yours because Dark Fibre consists of optical fibres that are not connected to any active equipment. You are free to choose and obtain your own light-generating equipment.

You will decide on the services you wish to transport through the connection and how much bandwidth you wish to allocate to each of these. This allows you to easily scale up in the future and adjust bandwidths in the interim to cater for peaks in your network traffic.

Dark Fiber also offers extremely secure, stable and fast connectivity – exactly what is needed to keep a smart city up and running!

Relined Fiber Network

Relined Fiber Network supplies Dark Fiber. Together with our preferred suppliers, we have a Dark Fiber network providing nationwide cover in the Netherlands and Germany made up of 30,000 km of high-quality fibre-optic infrastructure. In the Netherlands, we work with a range of partner fibre-optic networks at local and provincial level. These are connected to our network, allowing you to make optimum use of existing fibre-optic networks and reach many locations such as data centres, offices and care providers. We are able to deliver an extremely fine-meshed network throughout the country, and our network is extremely well represented in many large cities.

We will be happy to look with you at effective solutions for the establishment of a scalable, reliable, future-oriented network infrastructure. With Relined, you are choosing reliability (ISO 27001), flexibility, ‘a deal is a deal’ and high quality (ISO 9001).

If you would like more information, contact your specialist for this segment Edwin de Steenhuijsen Piters, who will be happy to discuss the options for your branch of government.

*We are using the example of a city, but this could of course just as easily refer to a municipality, village or neighbourhood.