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Smart cities give citizens back 125 hours per year

Rather than focus on the technical underpinnings of a data-centric world, the study highlights the human benefits smart cities bring

One of the aims of the study was to tangibly measure a smart city's benefits
One of the aims of the study was to tangibly measure a smart city's benefits

Smart cities have the potential to “give back” 125 hours to every resident every year, a new study suggests.


The report, Smart Cities – What’s in it for Citizens?, sponsored by Intel and carried out by Juniper Research, ranks the top 20 smart cities worldwide across four key areas and reveals how these cities deliver positive outcomes for increased time savings and productivity.


Additionally, they contribute to increases in health and overall quality of life, and a safer environment.


The study found that Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco and Singapore, are the world’s leading cities integrating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and connected services.


These cities stand out because of their cohesive efforts to connect city municipalities, businesses and their citizens to address a growing need to improve “livability” – specifically around mobility (San Francisco and Singapore); public safety (Chicago, New York and Singapore); healthcare (London and Singapore); and productivity (Chicago, London and Singapore) – as they transition to a smarter, more connected environment.


“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research. “We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”


Many of the IoT technologies identified in the study – including mobility, health and public safety solutions – are already being deployed around the world:


Mobility – the average peak-time vehicle speed in cities is 4mph. This gridlock causes drivers to lose up to 70 hours per year. The study determined an integrated IoT-enabled infrastructure of intelligent traffic systems, safer roads, directed parking, frictionless toll and parking payments can give back up to 60 hours a year to drivers otherwise stuck in their cars;


Health – the study found that smart cities with connected digital health services can play a significant role in creating efficiencies – saving citizens almost 10 hours a year – and even potential lifesaving benefits for both patients and caregivers. Examples such as wearable apps monitor blood pressure, pain tolerance and temperature to help people manage chronic conditions without hospitalisation. ‘Telemedicine’ enables contagious flu sufferers to avoid doctor’s offices with an examination via high-speed video link from their home;


Public safety – improvements in public safety can deliver substantial time benefits for smart city citizens – nearly 35 hours per year, according to the study. Digital infrastructure enables the cityscape to generate valuable data. Street lights transform into connected digital infrastructure beacons, monitoring the pulse of city life, which enable a range of local departments to be safer, cleaner and more efficient.


“Cities are engines of economic activity, and we as an industry need to make them more resilient and responsive,” added Sameer Sharma, global general manager of smart cities IoT solutions at Intel.


“Partnerships between city planners, government officials, private companies, OEMs, software developers and start-ups are creating smart city ecosystems that will empower citizens while reducing our carbon footprint.”


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