What Is IoT Architecture, and How Does It Enable Smart Cities?

Without the Internet of Things (IoT) smart cities simply wouldn’t be all that smart. They would not deliver value to residents or to city governments.
Things in a city that can become “smart,” from parking to streetlights, transportation, energy, health, buildings, and the environment, only become so because of an IoT architecture that has several key layers, all of which work in concert for smart cities to be successful.

In addition to government involvement, the technology needed to enable a smart city application is connectivity (to connect devices to the internet so that they can exchange information) and data (generated by the device, without which a connected device is of limited utility).

Smart cities’ spending on technology is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.7 percent, jumping to $327 billion by 2025, up from $96 billion in 2019. To make that possible, city governments will need to continue to invest in their IoT architecture.

What Is an IoT Architecture?

An IoT application can be described “as things (devices) sending data that generates insights. These insights generate actions to improve a business or process.”

As an example, an engine (the thing) sending temperature data that is used to evaluate whether the engine is performing as expected (the insight) in order to proactively prioritize the maintenance schedule for the engine (the action).
That action operates within a framework known as an IoT architecture that is often described as a four-stage process in which data flows from sensors attached to ‘things’ through a network and eventually on to a data center or the cloud for processing, analysis and storage.

A ‘thing’ could be a machine, a building or even a person. Processes in the IoT architecture also send data in the other direction in the form of instructions or commands that tell an actuator or other physically connected device to take some action to control a physical process.

The 4 Layers of IoT Architecture

1. Sensing or perception layer:

This is where the IoT architecture starts with sensors or actuators either monitoring or controlling some physical object.

2. Network layer:

Data from a sensor or actuator is sent through the network layer that collect raw data from the sensors and convert it from analog into digital format before sending it through an Internet gateway for the next stage of processing.”

3. Data processing or management layer:

After the data has been digitized and aggregated, it will need processing to further reduce the data volume before it goes to the data center or cloud. Machine learning tools can be used to provide feedback to the connected system to improve its performance. Further analysis of the data can take place in the cloud or a data center to provide a broader picture of the overall IoT system.

4. Application layer:

Industry-specific and/or agency-specific applications can be used to perform in-depth analysis and apply business rules to determine whether action needs to be taken

What Is a Smart City?

There are a range of definitions for what a smart city actually is, with no single consensus on the essential criteria.

A smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare

A 360-degree smart city looks across every aspect of operations and uses technology to improve outcomes.

An urban center that not only leverages technology to improve its own operations but connects with citizens, businesses, and nonprofits in new ways.

A smart city network and community is a municipality that advances in six key strategic action fields: Smart Government, Smart Economy, Smart

Environment, Smart Living, Smart Mobility and Smart People.

Summarized from statetechmagazine.com

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