The concept of a smart city invokes specific imagery in peoples’ minds, from the cartoon The Jetsons to the future portrayed in the Blade Runner franchise. Although there are no flying cars or glass tubes funneling people to work, the reality is that smart cities are already here, operating behind the scenes in surprisingly practical yet valuable ways.
Smart cities use advancements in digital technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), to improve the quality of life of their residents, save energy, and reduce emissions.
And as 5G wireless networks become more widely available and sophisticated, everything running on IoT connections, from vehicles, public transportation, water, and traffic management; public safety, and green technologies will experience massive innovations.
5G Will Improve Smart Transportation Systems
When equipped with 5G, autonomous and connected vehicles will become safer and more commonplace. Through 5G communication, artificial intelligence will have the power to make split-second decisions on roads and intersections. Smart cities also plan to build connected vehicle grids so autonomous vehicles can “talk” with each other and receive instructions to avoid congested areas and prevent accidents.
Connected vehicles using 5G have the potential to benefit the environment through reduced personal vehicle ownership and reliance on smaller electric motors, cutting down the use of fossil fuels.
Public transportation can also benefit from 5G networks via real-time and end-to-end visibility. Residents reliant on buses, subways, and light rails will get where they need to go faster and more safely through “journey-level intelligence” and fleet monitoring. Also, their overall travel experience will improve through advanced Wi-Fi connectivity and onboard communications, along with secure fare collection and mobile ticketing.
Smart Water and Traffic Infrastructure Gains from 5G
Smart cities will use smart water monitoring devices powered by 5G to track and detect leaks so that water departments can fix a problem right away. Beyond monitoring for leaks, smart cities can use sensors installed along riverbanks to watch for flooding with an increase in the accuracy and speed at which floods get predicted.
Often, traffic issues, such as poorly timed lights, are due to transportation agencies relying on outdated schedules and technology. By strategically placing 5G-connected technology at a central location, operating on an AI system, management can send and receive information concerning traffic patterns in real time. The AI system can notify traffic lights to adjust timing and eliminate unnecessary stops to allow for the uninterrupted flow of traffic.
5G Can Help Cites Make Residents Safer
Smart cities are using 5G to bolster the safety of their residents by addressing goals including earthquake warning and damage assessment, flood rescue, and homelessness data modeling.
Similarly, smart cities can use 5G capabilities to produce an alert system that notifies the cellphones of pedestrians if a dangerous or suspicious vehicle is approaching or even the origin of gunshots.
Several smart cities have different apps enabling residents to report potholes and problems with city infrastructure and communicate with city officials. The effectiveness of these apps and software will only grow with future 5G developments.
5G Enables Green Technology for a Cleaner Environment
The last foundational aspect of any smart city is its commitment to saving energy and reducing emissions. As 5G rolls out, there will be a direct increase in green tech applications.
5G will help smart cities and smart buildings move toward net-zero emissions and reduced energy consumption.
5G supports the management and automation of green technology such as solar panels, precision agriculture, and street lighting.
Smart cities also plan on using 5G through sensors to monitor air quality, sound pollution, and public trash bin levels.
Smart cities using green technologies have produced impressive results, including 10 to 15 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, 30 to 130 fewer kilograms of solid waste per person per year, and 25 to 80 liters of water saved per person per year.
Summarized from StateTech.com