More than half of the modern population lives in cities, and this number is steadily increasing. More people result in more traffic, more traffic - in more pollution, more waste, more energy usage, etc.

Smart city solutions are here to address these problems. The city of the future is smart - it is entirely interconnected. It regulates traffic, saves energy, and reduces waste. 

The Internet of Things helps to unlock the power of smart cities, as it ensures interconnectivity.

But what are IoT smart cities solutions that make cities a better place to live? How to implement IoT for smart cities successfully? In this article, we will answer these questions and present some real-life examples of businesses that successfully adopted IoT smart city solutions. 

What is the value of  smart city IoT solutions? 

The increased consumption brings about the enhanced urge for smart resource (e.g., environmental and economic) management. With the help of IoT, smart cities will be able to manage these resources efficiently and ensure their sustainability. 

IoT technologies for smart cities provide both higher quality of life to their citizens and overall economic growth. What’s more, smart cities help save money for governments and citizens by optimizing the resources used.

So, how can you optimize the urban infrastructure with the help of IoT? Let’s discover together. 

Top IoT smart city solutions 

Even though there are many smart city use cases, traffic management and resource optimization are the key ones. In this section, we will focus mainly on these cases and their real-life success stories. 

When it comes to traffic management, there are two most critical cases - intelligent transport systems and smart parkings. Let’s view them in more detail. 

1. IoT in smart cities: Intelligent transport system

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) enable adjusting road network performance in real-time. With the help of ITSs, drivers’ choices can be influenced (thus optimized) by mobile devices/in-car systems. 

There is a wide range of stakeholders that benefit from implementing ITSs. They are, for instance:

IoT smart cities: usage of ITS

Intelligent Transport Systems are used to enhance the safety, effectiveness, as well as the sustainability of transport networks. Such systems also help reduce traffic congestion. 

To implement ITS, you need to cooperate with skilled tech professionals with strong expertise in IoT, deep learning, computer vision, edge computing, and other technologies. 

Usually, ITS development requires a number of stages, including data collection, annotation, analysis, as well as training & testing AI models. 

Let’s see how it works on the example of the N-iX partnership case study.

IoT solutions for smart cities: Intelligent Transport System developed by N-iX experts

Our client is a company developing ITS for government, police, and traffic departments. This company partnered with us primarily due to our strong IoT and computer vision expertise. 

Together with our client, we work on the Intelligent Transport System that is aimed to track traffic rules offenses. 

They needed substantial computer vision expertise from discovery to implementation. With the help of cameras, our client detects the car, its speed, color, and size. The task of N-iX engineers was to develop models that detect anomalies (e.g., the unfastened seatbelt) based on the image received from the cameras.

Also, we helped this client with image enhancement - so that the images received from cameras  in different weather and light conditions were of good quality.

2. IoT application in smart cities: Smart parking 

Smart parking is yet another vehicle regulation trend powered by smart city IoT. Smart parking usually implies an IoT-based system that sends data about free and occupied parking places via web or mobile applications. The IoT devices, such as sensors, are located in each parking slot. The user receives a live update about available parking spots and thus can choose the best one.

IoT technologies for smart cities: Smart parking solution developed by N-iX

Our partner is an Australian business with a history of intelligent parking solutions dating back to 1936 with the development of their first parking meter. 

N-iX experts are involved in the development of an intelligent next-generation parking solution. We have developed a brand-new solution based on microservices. We use C++ 14, Qt 5, QML, D-Bus, and YOCTO Linux. The embedded device is powered by solar energy and has a solar battery.

Our challenge is to develop a solution that would allow saving solar energy and increase the duration of its use. All communication with the web is performed via 3G. One of the newly developed features is the ability to view the balance and paid parking time.

Currently, it is designed for Malaysia, and our client has plans to expand its use to other countries. 

3. Smart cities Internet of Things: Smart lighting

There are two main types of IoT-enabled smart lighting: one is the system that turns on when it is dark outside and turns off when it is light. The other is the management of lighting or the system that sends notifications when a certain fixture is out of service. The latter solution is critical for efficient city, office, etc., lighting management.

N-iX experts can help you with both options. We will help you streamline IoT-powered communication between smart ​​fixtures and connect the system to the gateway. With the help of our smart lighting solutions, you will be able to manage resources, as the lighting will be turned on only when needed.

To ensure maximum efficiency, we help you choose the best-fitting gateway for your unique business case. 

tap into our IoT expertise

4. IoT for smart city: Ride-sharing

With the growing city population, there is a need for an efficient bike-sharing system, as bikes are one of the most affordable, easily accessible, and reliable vehicles. An efficient bike-sharing solution allows bike renting itself and provides information regarding the availability of bikes per station, route business, and more. 

With the help of IoT sensors, the system can show the users the available stations and see real-time data about routes, speed, effort, rhythm, etc. 

IoT in smart city: Bike-sharing solution developed by N-iX

Our client Bycyklen is a digital bike sharing system providing city bikes for rent in the Danish capital area. 

Together with our client, we have worked on:

  • The backend maintenance of the existing applications (an admin and end-user websites, as well as a tablet application);
  • The development of new Android and iOS apps for the existing bikes as well as new generation bikes (completely operated with a new mobile application);
  • QA services

Smart Cities and IoT: Challenges

Despite all the benefits offered by the IoT smart city, there are also some challenges you have to be aware of before implementing such a project. For instance, such projects need to be available to urban citizens in a mobile application or open data portal. Such an approach will help residents engage with the data and fulfill personal tasks, such as finding transportation options, paying bills, and others. All this data should be highly secured, which can be a real challenge. As a result, the need for a secure data collection and storage system arises. 

Smart city data also needs to be anonymized to prevent privacy issues.

Connectivity is yet another challenge of IoT solutions for smart cities. Millions of IoT devices need to be efficiently connected and form a high-performance system. Such a system should also be robust, able to work 24/7 under different weather conditions, and possible to be updated easy.

To overcome these challenges, you have to find a trusted technology partner with solid technology (e.g., IoT, computer vision, big data, AI, etc.) expertise.

Why develop IoT smart city solutions with N-iX?

  1. We provide a full life-cycle of IoT-related services, including gateway development, cloud adoption, and connectivity solutions, as well as both software and hardware development;
  2. N-iX developers have in-depth knowledge of various network communication solutions - both wired and wireless;
  3. We have long-standing cloud expertise. N-iX is a certified AWS Select Consulting Partner, a Microsoft gold certified partner, as well as a Google Cloud Platform Partner;
  4. N-iX is compliant with all the required Infosecurity regulations, including PCI DSS, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and GDPR;
  5. We have a proven track record implementing IoT solutions for a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and agriculture;
  6. Our tech portfolio includes projects, including Fluke, Bicyklen, Fortune 500 companies, and many others.

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