Integration is the Key to Urban Evolution: Technical Challenges for the Smart City and the Internet of Thins

Po-Jung Shih

Abstract


According to the statistics and estimates of the United Nations, half of the world's current population resides in cities. In addition, there will be 91 cities with populations of over 5 million by 2025, and 36 of them will be megacities with populations of over 10 million. This signifies that cities shall play an increasingly important role in human civilization. However, as populations continue to concentrate in cities, more challenges shall arise in areas such as transportation, energy, housing, disaster prevention, pollution prevention, and various life-support systems and the issue for effectively improving "use efficiency" would need to be addressed.

Challenges brought forth by concentrated population and issues in the efficiency of the supply of various life support systems (including software and hardware) have made the design of a smarter city a point of concern. In the last five years, several cities in Europe, the Americas, East Asia, and even the Middle East have come forward with diversified and colorful designs for a "smart city."

One question that must be asked of the development is: What exactly is the essence of smart cities and how do we observe them? If we wish to enhance the efficiency in the use of various life-support systems, what other technological barriers remain to be solved?

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