Right now, 82.3% of the entire US population lives in urban centres. As urban sprawl continues to grow with growing North American populations, more problems emerge: high energy demand, excess water usage, and of course, more vehicles on the road causing more traffic.
Los Angeles traffic is ranked as being the worst in the world
Recently, Ambience Data was featured in Real Estate Tech News' article titled "8 Startups Helping Cities Get Smarter" which can be read here. Among other startups like Bridj and Moovit, we help optimize the efficiency of cities to improve the environment and save money for both cities and residents.
1) Sensor Technology
One of the main technologies found in smart cities and homes are sensors that can be used for a wide variety of applications. Occupancy sensors can detect whether parking spots are available and optimize their light systems according to number of occupants. Similarly, water level sensors are used to monitor rainfall levels to optimize city sprinkler systems. Another use for sensor technology in buildings is for energy efficiency. Carbon dioxide, temperature, and humidity are monitored to detect room occupancy and worker health. These sensors save costs - and the environment - by providing real-time monitoring for cities and buildings.
2) Sustainability and/or Clean Technology Initiatives
Residents in urban cities are becoming more conscious of their environmental impacts and how they can reduce their carbon footprint. Rooftop gardens and growing succulents help bring more green space without using as much energy or water. Amsterdam is big on smart cities projects and has different projects dedicated to different themes. For instance, a virtual power plant that allows for trading of excess solar energy from one home to another.
Rooftop terrace in Paris
3) Data Collection & Analysis
Collecting data directly from sensor monitoring or traffic data, energy usage, and home water usage needs to be analyzed to improve the systems set in place. Predictive trends can assess traffic efficiency with growing populations or energy cost savings through the optimization of heating systems and indoor air monitors.
There are a wide number of definitions for smart cities but in general, encompass these three things. Cities around the world like Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Toronto are recognizing the benefits to being a 'smart city' not just cost-wise but also to encourage sustainable living.