What is a SMART city?

According to Wikipedia ‘A Smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to collect data and then use insights gained from that data to manage assets, resources and services efficiently’. Responsive technologies therefore play a key role.

The Smart City concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT) including AV, and various physical devices connected to the IoT network to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and the engagement of its citizens. This combination of technologies is used to enhance the quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve communication between citizens and government.

By 2016, smart city technology spending across the globe had reached $80 billion. Growth since has been so significant that the smart city industry is now projected to be a $700 billion market by 2021, a substantial increase driven by its compelling business case.

Enterprise IoT Architecture

The following aspects, distillations from the UN’s sustainability goals, are the core objectives to be pursued by any smart city.

  • Health & happiness
  • Equity & local economy
  • Culture & community
  • Land & nature
  • Sustainable water
  • Local & sustainable food
  • Travel & transport
  • Materials & products
  • Zero waste
  • Zero carbon energy

With the right methodology, these aspects can help identify the steps a city needs to take in terms of the natural environment, hard and soft infrastructure and services. Once you undergo the enterprise IoT architecture process necessary for these deliverables, the way forward becomes clear. (It may well entail more than existing networks.) Enterprise IoT architecture is a highly specialist field, and not one that falls within other design disciplines.


A mobile app can give citizens and visitors immediate access to data, communication channels and more, enabling them to do everything from avoiding traffic jams to finding a parking spot, or empowering them to report a pothole or an over-flowing dumpster. Sometimes there are two apps, a tourist app and a citizen app. The thing to remember about apps is they can send notifications, providing a highly cost-effective means of informing citizens on an ongoing basis across a range of issues.

SMART Digital Signage Networks

Digital smart city signage can take many forms, from inexpensive LCD monitors inside civic buildings through to outdoor digital billboards that command attention via sheer size and prominence. A popular form of display for high foot traffic areas outdoors are street kiosks or digital precinct banners bright enough for daytime use.

Civic signage can do far more than publicise city services or upcoming civic events. Smart digital signage can also be both interactive and transactional, thus enabling smart cities to simultaneously streamline civic services and reduce operating costs.

SMART Wayfinding

One technology of particular interest to smart cities and precincts is the iGirouette animated signpost from France. Used extensively throughout European Smart City projects, these signposts can physically indicate direction to hundreds of destinations, providing the distance, mode of transport and the duration of the journey to each. Each sign can also encourage and facilitate the downloading of a precinct app in order to provide a deeper layer of detail about each destination. Destinations can be displayed in a programmed sequence or specific location requests can be made via the app. Some cities and tourist areas use this technology to generate income, while others deploy it purely as a public service. University campuses are another enthusiastic user of this technology with Curtin University in Perth leading the way in Australia.

SMART Asset & Facility Management

At a simple level, sensors can advise when civic rubbish bins are full and need emptying. However closer analysis of such data can also inform how many rubbish bins are necessary in order to match demand. It’s a similar story with assets like car parks. Sensor monitoring can inform citizens of vacancies, and with closer analysis inform government of car space demand, average duration of stay and so on. Combining visual AI with metered parking could enable frictionless transaction with registered account holders and allow for parking infringements to be issued automatically. Either way operating costs reduce.

Responsive technologies for smart cities can monitor traffic flow, issue traffic advice, better control energy consumption across a range of criteria and provide a city with a variety of data to better plan for assets and facilities.

SMART City summary

A smart city project generally needs a number of specialist participants, and central to such a cooperative effort is a technology company like the Ci Group as no single company or institution quite frankly will have all the answers. A Smart City needs connectivity not just with an assortment of hardware but also to an assortment of skill sets.

Why The Ci Group is the right partner for you

  • Better user experiences
  • Higher productivity outcomes
  • Better wellness outcomes
  • Better delivery methodology

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