5 Components of Smart Cities Explained

Components of smart cities are; smart devices, smart houses, Internet of Things, and virtual decision-making processes.


Some studies list the components of smart cities as; smart people, smart transportation, smart life, smart government and smart economy [1].


However, these are not the basic components themselves, but rather the different sectors or domains established through the applications of these components.


In this article the components of smart cities are discussed, as follows;






1). Smart Devices (as one of the Components of Smart Cities)

Smart devices constitute the most basic component of smart cities, so that their presence and functions are what make the city smart.

There are three levels of devices available in a smart city, which are; perception or sensing layer, network layer and application or end-use layer. The categorization of these layers is based on scope, context and limit of operation of the smart devices involved.

For example, smart devices at the perception level are those used tor data collection, which includes mainly wireless sensors.

Those at the network level are computing devices equipped to seamlessly interconnect, while sharing, analyzing and processing data in real-time, while application-level devices are designed to execute functions based on decisions made through data analysis.

Smart cities can be delineated into various 'domains' based on the functions of smart devices. The smart city domains are; education, energy management, environment, administration, defense, mobility, economy, and safety.

Smart devices are what make up IoT networks that a smart city depends on for its sustainability.

Examples of smart devices used in smart cities are; sensors, smart phones, and smart thermostats.






2). Smart Houses

Smart houses or smart homes are the buildings that make up smart cities.

The purpose of a smart house is to provide users with computing technologies that can reduce cost by saving resources, while improving the quality and comfort of life [6].

In smart homes, smart devices are used to perform multiple functions while being seamlessly integrated.

Smart devices can reduce cost of living through energy conservation, improved efficiency of work, time saving, and low labor demands. They can also improve energy efficiency, safety and life quality.

The rate of economic growth and sustainable development in a smart city depends directly on its smart devices; their configuration, performance, and the effectiveness of their connectivity.

Components of Smart Cities: Smart Houses (Credit: Officialtoc 2020 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Components of Smart Cities: Smart Houses (Credit: Officialtoc 2020 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)






3). Real-Time Data (as one of the Components of Smart Cities)

Smart city data refers to signals registered by sensors that are installed and operated in smart cities.

The kinds of data are collected in smart cities include visual, audio, and physicochemical data.

These are used to assess the conditions of various aspects of the environment; as well as to monitor the environmental impacts of urbanization in cities on a timely basis.

Because such data can come from thousands or millions of sensors in real-time; its analysis usually requires well-developed and efficient frameworks for big data management [8].

Big data in smart cities is the collection of signals derived from smart sensors, which can be analyzed instantaneously through wireless IoT networks [7].

The collection, processing, interpretation and utilization of real-time data is behind many of the processes that drive smart cities, and is also essential to the environmental, economic and social sustainability of these cities [5].






4). Internet of Things

Basically, a smart city is an IoT product, because all the typical characteristics and operations of smart cities depend on the interconnection of smart devices in an Internet of Things framework.

Benefits of IoT in smart hones and cities are; low-cost operation, efficiency improvement, and versatile usability in various areas including ecosystem protection, disaster risk management, commerce, sustainable manufacturing, public health and administration [9].

Ways in which IoT is used in smart cities include smart device integration, data management, and productivity optimization.

IoT is a very crucial component of smart cities because it harmonizes the functions of other components, thereby making the smart city a balanced and functional urban ecosystem.






5). Virtual Decision-Making Processes (as one of the Components of Smart Cities)

Decision-making in smart cities is usually based on a combination of efficient data collection and analysis [2].

The use of smart systems to make decisions can be referred to as virtual or smart decision-making, as it depends solely on digital data and computations.

There are three main levels of decision making in smart cities, which include; tactical, operational and strategic [4]. The operations at these three levels are what enable smart city governance bodies to identify and solve problems at different levels of complexity.

Virtual decision-making mechanisms can improve various sectors of smart city administration; including security, by integrating the functions and decisions of various security units [3].







Components of smart cities are;

1. Smart Devices

2. Smart Houses

3. Real-Time Data

4. Internet of Things

5. Virtual Decision-Making Processes







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2). Berntzen, L.; Johannessen, M. R.; El-Gazzar, R. (2018). "Smart Cities, Big Data and Smart Decision-making Understanding "Big Data" in Smart City Applications." the Twelfth International Conference on Digital Society and eGovernments (ICDS 2018). Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325908654_Smart_Cities_Big_Data_and_Smart_Decision-making_Understanding_Big_Data_in_Smart_City_Applications. (Accessed 23 January 2023).

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6). Klein, C.; Kaefer, G. (2008). "From Smart Homes to Smart Cities: Opportunities and Challenges from an Industrial Perspective." Next Generation Teletraffic and Wired/Wireless Advanced Networking, 8th International Conference, NEW2AN and 1st Russian Conference on Smart Spaces, ruSMART 2008, St. Petersburg, Russia, September 3-5, 2008. Proceedings. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-85500-2_24. (Accessed 23 January 2023).

7). Malik, K. R.; Sam, Y.; Hussain, M.; Abuarqoub, A. (2017). "A Methodology for Real-time Data Sustainability in Smart City: Towards Inferencing and Analytics for Big-Data." Sustainable Cities and Society 39. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2017.11.031. (Accessed 23 January 2023).

8). Manjunatha, S.; Basava, A. (2018). "Real Time Big Data Analytics in Smart City Applications." International Conference on Communication, Computing and Internet of Things (IC3IoT). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1109/IC3IoT.2018.8668106. (Accessed 23 January 2023).

9). Tripathi, A.; Sindhwani, N.; Anand, R.; Dahiya, A. (2023). "Role of IoT in Smart Homes and Smart Cities: Challenges, Benefits, and Applications." In: Sindhwani, N., Anand, R., Niranjanamurthy, M., Chander Verma, D., Valentina, E.B. (eds) IoT Based Smart Applications. EAI/Springer Innovations in Communication and Computing. Springer, Cham. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-04524-0_12. (Accessed 23 January 2023).

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