Cities around the world are making modifications so that they can become smart cities. For a city to be termed as smart, the systems of water and waste management, transportation and safety are the areas of focus. But what exactly is a smart city? Simple defined, a smart city is one that is equipped with the basic infrastructure for a quality lifestyle of its citizens. Cities are also embracing technology as they seek to become ‘smart’. One of these technologies is big data. As the name suggests, big data refers to huge amounts of data that can be analyzed to help businesses and cities in this case to make appropriate strategic moves. Overall, big data is studying large volumes of data to realize patterns and get insights which can provide valuable information. Then there are smart city sensors which collect data from different gateways in a city. The biggest impact of big data on smart cities is felt in some areas like:
- Security For a city to be termed as smart, it must provide security for its inhabitants. Safety is a top priority. Big data can impact the level of security and safety because it can be used by cities through predictive analysis. Using historical and geographical data, cities can analyze which areas are likely to be hubs of crime and predict where they are likely to happen. Such information helps a city to create a much safer space.
- Planning the city One of the problems that most cities are facing is that they are poorly planned. Poor planning causes congestion and inability to efficiently provide services. A city embedded with sensors has a clear picture on what is lacking in the city and how it can be developed. Data can be used to study the current situation so that areas that need improvement and upgrading can be identified. When cities have highly accurate data, they have an easier time mapping infrastructure needs and pinpointing where development is needed.
- Transportation Many cities in the world are struggling with traffic congestion. This congestion has cost the cities millions if not billions in revenue. Sometimes it may seem impossible to curb traffic but it is very possible. Cities can easily manage transportation by using big data. This can be done by analyzing data collected from transport authorities to uncover patterns that help to decrease traffic congestion. In addition, the analysis will enlighten authorities with intelligent ways to manage and monitor transport in a city. Lastly, big data will also help to minimize the number of accidents.
- Future-proofing Urbanization is an increasing phenomenon in almost all cities. Cities need to be modified for the future. There are cities that are already using automation to manage traffic routing. Big data can be utilized to create a sustainable environment where resources are spent optimally. Predictive analysis helps to analyze the current growth patterns and plan for the future.
- Sustainability It is necessary to continuously monitor the growth of a city to uncover development updates and make changes when they are needed. Analyzing the output after implementation of technology will give an idea of what and where development is needed. This is how cities can become sustainable.
- Spending effectively In order to transform a city, there is a lot of investment that is needed for changes to be made. Sometimes, cities spend on the wrong changes. Big data helps a city to realize which areas need major transformation and what upgrades are needed. Big data analytics can help cities make wise investment decisions. Many cities have not embraced big data technology and are missing out on these important areas that big data can help. For a city to become smart, using big data analytics should be a top priority.