31 March 2022

Smart Cities in EU: sustainability, technology, ecommerce and future

For decades, technology has become an integral and evolving part of our lives. Given its constant evolution and the curious nature of the human being, we continually ask ourselves what shape these new technologies will have in the future. Also, we see this future unfold before our eyes year after year, especially when we talk about city infrastructure and sustainability, which evolves at the speed of light to cater to the changing needs of the user and the world. This is the case of Smart Cities, which are places where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with digital solutions for the benefit of the citizens, business, and the environment. 

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Smart cities: technology to the service of sustainability

eCommerce, transports and housing are some of the sectors that produce more toxic emissions into our atmosphere. In response to this, smart buildings within the city use sustainable construction materials, and city councils have started promoting the usage of electric vehicles and smart delivery routes, as well as other initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions and work towards the sustainability fo the ity's resources. 

Traditional eCommerce deliveries clog our cities daily:

  • Representing 40% of urban traffic 
  • Producing 20% of urban toxic emissions
  • With 25% of home deliveries failing

Aside from eCommerce and logistic transport, there are various other areas of smart city management:

  • Smart energy systems for responsible consumption and energy savings
  • Recycling, reduction and management of waste and savings in harmful emissions
  • Accessible transport, efficient traffic management and sustainable mobility
  • Solutions for people with disabilities or special needs

How is smart city infrastructure evolving to improve our lives?

An essential tool for managing Smart Cities (and on a smaller scale, Smart Buildings) and direct them towards sustainability is data. Thanks to them we can interconnect systems (Internet of Things) and obtain critical information about their operation. They are also essential for computer learning and Artificial Intelligence, or AI, which are crucial for the operation of Smart Cities.

The speed at which this data is collected and transmitted has a great impact on the efficiency of traffic systems, noise measurement and CO2 emissions, occupancy rates, among many other processes. This is why, although 5G is still making its way to all providers, the world leaders in the communications sector are already working on 6G. 

Our devices and systems are getting faster and more capable, with which they can perform increasingly complex tasks, saving resources and unlocking several areas of development:

  • Smart Buildings and multi-tenant complexes: increasingly more people are betting for BTR (Buy to rent) accomodations. Large multi-family skyscrapers, which incorporate essential and premium services. With the intelligent use of its spaces and technology, a residential building will be able to allow the user to manage their purchases, go to the gym, work, attend classes, go to the park and even farm sustainably, without having to leave the building
  • Our cities are becoming greener and more sustainable. More spaces are being allocated to the construction of parks, orchards and urban forests in order to create more 'lungs' for the world and to improve air quality for citizens. There are also more and more renewable and clean energy installations being made within the city such as solar, wind, biomass and other sustainable energy resources.
  • IoT and IoE will be the order of the day: with the Internet of Things, smart homes can connect their appliances and systems so that they operate autonomously and effectively and even be remotely controlled by us. This is beginning to spread to entire buildings and in a few years we will see it implemented on a large scale, in entire cities, with the Internet of Everything.
  • We are fighting to put an end to mobility problems: with initiatives to replace polluting vehicles with electric ones, to share vehicles, and to implement more efficient public transport, we seek to decongest cities and reduce noise. On the other hand, it is expected that in the future we will have technologies such as intelligent pavement and the 6G traffic communication cloud, through which autonomous driving will be facilitated and traffic knots will be avoided.

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