Therefore, it’s not surprising that, for example, electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly present in the streets, for the purpose of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A number of inventions that are linked to the so called, smart cities have included the green element, for the purpose of reducing the impact on the environment. The role of technology in the cities of the future is significant, especially in terms of environmental impact that will impede the climate change process. All that the smart cities encompass must be at the service of its citizens and the environment. Croatia has clever people who sold their smart innovations to the world, but our country is still far away from an image of a country with a lot of smart cities. Nevertheless, electric cars and scooters are rarely found on our streets, we also lack the ordinary bicycle paths, let alone those with imbedded solar panels that generate energy for households, such is the case in Krommenie in the Netherlands. The intelligent local example is the Smart bench (Pametna klupa), the brainchild of Ivan Mrvoš from Solin, which, besides being used for seating has a practical and ecological application. Since it contains a solar panel, this bench also serves for charging of the citizens electrical devices, and at night serves as a lamp. It is worth mentioning the City of Dubrovnik in which the first European smart lamp was installed – this lamp is equipped with sensors so it turns on and off when required, thus saving energy. An excellent example of smart and useful invention can be found in Paris, where the set of trees captures and process the wind energy.
At the global level, different priorities are set for the smart cities: in North America, the focus is on smart electrical grids; in Latin America the traffic improvement was set as a goal; in Asia are more focused on solving on the issues of urbanization and e – governance, and in Europe on the regeneration and sustainability. One of the priorities of the smart cities is to use the technology to improve the sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness of public services. As the past crisis has led to increased costs and issued humble budgets and aggravated transformation projects in the cities, efficiency has become even more important because of the total price that needs to be paid. There are lot of opportunities for savings – from the examples of the selective waste collection, parking, through the reduction of use of water in parks and gardens, to the introduction of a variety of innovative solutions in the construction building and touching other, various spheres of life. In September 2015, the United Nations set up seventeen goals for the purpose of sustainable development planned for the next thirty years to improve the living in the world. Smart cities are one of the steps towards meeting of these objectives.
According to Lopotar, a smart city is a developed urban area that creates sustainable economic development and improves quality of life that is subsequently distinguished by the several key points such as economy, mobility, environment, people and life management. The concept of smart cities is a group of multi – disciplinary measures, ideas and policies that were designed to promote the development of human and technological resources in urban areas, and their structured mutual interaction to enable sustainable economic development and a higher quality of life of its inhabitants (Biočina, 2015). Although has often been associated with the various variants of ICT technologies, the concept of smart cities is much broader than the exclusively deployment of technology solutions, and includes a variety of sociological concepts, such as maximum social inclusion and transparent decision – making system.
The most common features of smart cities that are mentioned are smart parking, intelligent public transport, traffic management, telecommunications access and networking, smart lighting, waste management, smart taxi cars and the like, but this is not nearly the end of the list of determinants of the smart city. Smart city actually integrates all the functions of public services such as lighting, traffic or energy production and thus increases their efficiency, reduces energy costs, speed up communication among the sub – systems and significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Citizens in smart cities will communicate with the city services via the internet and through applications and as a result, such problems will be more quickly resolved. Citizens can directly send their information’s about the needs and problems in their neighbourhood, mark the exact location; add a photo or video, etc. An example of such useful applications is application that was brought upon by the Ministry of the Interior, intended for the smart phones that allow anonymous report of the individual cases directly to the police. With the help of an application, on your mobile phone screen you will ‘communicate’ with your flat and regulate a variety of functions on your appliances such as turning on the heating or switching off the electricity and so on. Equally, there are, for instance bracelets or necklaces that read vital body signs and sends regular reports to a doctor and even alarm if necessary. Here we should mention the Croatian smart teddy – bear which was designed by Josipa Majić and Ana Burica. By his English name – Teddy the Guardian, Teddy has sensors that monitor baby’s body temperature, blood pressure and pulse and sends such data to the application. In the smart city communicate even waste bins. Exclusively, in London during the 2012 Olympic Games were installed such waste bins, equipped with 2 LCD screens, showing the latest news, live data with the data from the stock market and so on. In addition, they have a built – in WiFi, and in the case of emergency they inform passers.
Digital trends and their impact on development of the smart cities
Smart cities are the product of the rapid development of new information technologies and accumulated knowledge, which is based on Internet technologies, wireless communication systems and other sensors whose foundation is the technology of Internet of Things. The term Internet of Things comprehends the installation of a variety of sensors and their connection to the local network and city Internet network, in order to obtain a function of identifying, monitoring, control and management of the facilities (Lopotar, 2015). On this way, on a daily basis is collected a vast amount of data that need to be analyzed and properly utilized. Consequently, the Big Data technology was designed that combines all the previously collected data and facilitates their breakdown and understanding. Only on this way it will be possible to integrate the functionality of smart solutions and done improvements in the field of Internet of Things that would link all units of such smart city.
By set forecasts it was indicated that by 2020, digital content and applications will be almost entirely submitted via the Internet. Today, the development of the high – speed access networks has the same revolutionary impact as the development of transport networks or electricity grids a century ago. Services will converge towards a digital world that will be universally accessible on any device, whenever such devices will be called smart phones, personal computers, digital radio or the high definition television.
Young people far more often lead their way when using smart phones to access to the Internet, so ‘the target group of individuals of 16 – 24 years of age it does in 60% of cases, and in the age group of 25 and 34 years of such activities are noticeable in 46% of cases. After smart phones, mostly used devices are laptops, and then tablets, except for the age groups older than 55 years of age who use desktop computers in 27% of cases’ (Ofcom Technology Tracker, 2015).
There is no single model of success, and also there is a gap between the reputation of the cities and their real situation. Therefore, in the reports which ranked cities are using 10 categories for determining their effectiveness (IESE Cities in Motion Index, 2014), and those are:
The key to the successful management is involvement of citizens and their cooperation with the business leaders and local authorities. Auckland is a city that has so far achieved the highest level in this area.
This area includes all actions for the improvement of the city government efficiency that includes the design of the new organizational and management models. It is believed that Tokyo has achieved the best results in this area.
For the purpose of improvement of life on any field, a commitment to the smart growth, local master plans and design of green areas and public spaces must be set as a priority. New methods of urban planning should focus on creating compact, well – connected cities. In the sense of the availability of public services, Berlin is top ranked for the city planning.
Technological development allows sustainability of the cities, it boost the competitive advantage of the production system and improve the quality of relationships. In this category, London was set on the first place.
Supporting the ‘green’ building, use of the alternative energy sources, and providing the more efficient water management and policies in order to counter the consequences of the climate change is essential to improve environmental sustainability. The greenest cities are Zurich, Geneva and Basel.
Cities that want to prosper must achieve a prominent place on the world stage. Strengthening international reach means strengthening their brand through the strategic tourism plans, attracting foreign investment and increasing its presence abroad. London was set on the first place in this category.
Care for the social environment requires the analysis of immigration, community development, care and support for the elderly, decrease of inequality, the analysis of the efficiency of the health system, public safety and others. For the Eindhoven was estimated that is the most socially cohesive city.
Navigating the cities which are often large, and facilitating the access to the public services are major challenges for the time to come. Berlin is the leading city in this category.
The main objective of any city should be to improve their human capital. This means that you should be able to attract and retain gifted and educated people, create plans to improve education, and to encourage creativity and research. On top of this category is Tokyo.
For the promotion of the economic development of a city, this area includes strategic industrial plans, an initiative to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and many more. New York is here an absolute ruler and deserved to top to the first place.
Among the most successful examples of smart cities are often referred to the Danish capital Copenhagen and the Swedish Stockholm, due to high growth of smart technology and significantly reduced power consumption, so they are considered leaders in the field of smart cities, the use of renewable energy resources and in the field of the implementation of the green IT technologies (Lopotar, 2015). Stockholm serves as an excellent example of the direction in which the cities should evolve to become smart cities. In order to meet the communication and integration requirements of all subsystems, Stockholm has developed a smart grid called Stokab that serves as the basis for the development of all other smart solutions, and allows for quick and easy communication between its subsystems.
However, Croatia can hardly compare with the Scandinavian countries, but the parallels could and should be drawn as far as possible with Austria. As the region is concerned, according to a survey performed in 2007, cities such as Maribor, Ljubljana and Zagreb were positioned in the middle of the list of the total of 70 ranked cities (ICTBusiness, 2015). Today, requirements are significantly more extended so the cities in the region were ranked lower but nevertheless all have defined strategies of investment in smart solutions. Mostly is invested in realization of energy efficiency, water supply, traffic control and reconstruction of infrastructure in order to create high – quality foundation for the implementation of the future systems that describes the smart cities. One of the best ranked cities in the region is Vienna, thanks to the formation of a public – private organization tasked with the development of smart city strategy and its solutions, including stimulation for up to 50% of electricity by 2030 that will be generated from solar energy.
Vienna’s ‘Smart City Wien’ strategy was set in 2011 and is made up of three essential elements – quality of life, resources and innovation (Smart City Wien, 2011). The quality of life includes and means of social inclusion and participation, health care and the participating environment, while the element of resources should relate to energy, mobility, infrastructure and building construction, and innovations in the field of the economy, education, research, technology and inventions. A special feature of the strategic framework for the ‘smart Vienna’ is that the aspects of social inclusion are considered equally important for all three dimensions.
The correct approach is a holistic one that considers and understands urban life primarily as a social, and only secondarily as a set of technical and logistical problems. In this sense, the community and social innovation are needed, which barely supports large corporations, so it is necessary for the public sector to becomes ‘smarter’, to understand that should not necessarily agree to the rapid development of generic strategies for the urban development.What we have, for example, technology that has provided us with the electric vehicles does not solve the problem of road safety or lack of space occupied by cars, but requires social savvy that can lead for us to ride bicycles or use public transport. People who manage Vienna better understand this problem than the people who run cities in the adjacent Vienna region.
In The United States was predicted that from 2010 to 2020 the total investment in the infrastructure of smart cities would reach 108 billion US dollars, while the European Commission for the development of smart cities has prepared Cohesion Policy for the period 2014 – 2020 worth 314 billion Euros. However, the latest research shows that the global market of smart cities is expected to grow from $ 654,57 billion in 2014 to $ 1266,58 billion by the year 2019 (Transparency Market Research, 2014). Why is this case?
Creating a sustainable development model for the cities has become a global imperative, because since 1960 until today, the share of population living in cities has increased from 34 to 54 %, and according to UN estimates, this trend will continue to extend in the future. The philosophy of ‘smart cities’ was developed as a direct response to the development of extreme urbanization, to which the world has been exposed over the past fifty years. It is anticipated that only in China during the next 15 years about 300 million people will migrate from rural to urban areas. Here we should not exempt the Croatia, which for the last 50 years records an ever increasing concentration of population in a small number of large urban settlements, what was highlighted at the conference ‘Smart cities – cities of the future’, held in Zagreb in 2015. One year later, also in Zagreb was held a conference Smart Cities 2016, whose message was contained in the title of the conference, which reads ‘Smart Cities – the future starts now’, but the real fact is that Croatia did nothing significantly to prove the aforementioned between the two conferences.
Support is eventually available from the European structural and investment funds for the purposes of the previously agreed operating plan and it is related to the following topics:
Moderation and finding balance in all aspects of life, as well as reconciliation with nature will be the main goal of our as well as the future generations. Otherwise, there could be a new ‘big bang’. The question is whether it is corroborated in the predictions of Deloitte Global who say that by the end of 2016, 80 of the 100 largest global companies that produce software have one or more cognitive technologies integrated into their products and by the end of 2020, the top 100 companies will have more than 95% of them. This would mean that the artificial intelligence actually will mainstreamed the business software, and this will lead to the new questions whether the AI will exists to create or take away the value of quality of life. The technology speeds up the all the processes and it would be a great thing if people would created excess time to quality spend their life, but let me remind you that ‘the things are not always what they seems to be’.
The key success factors for the smart cities are understandable and clear vision, the involvement of citizens, officials and local businesses, as well as effective generating processes. Implementation of some of the information and telecommunication solutions generates significant, if not huge impact on smart cities solutions. However, not every such solution that was identified in the context of the smart cities contribute to the objectives that the European Union was set to achieve by 2020, nor is any solution that contributes to these goals based on information and telecommunications solutions. In summary, solutions that meet both criteria are indeed rare.
Croatia lags behind most of Europe when it comes to smart cities, but we see it as an advantage, in a manner that the experiences of the European cities could be poured into an even smarter strategies and solutions, than they have experienced them. However, we are about to start immediately, because the future has already begun.
More Blog article for you
Do you want Ivana to share her latest thoughts with you