Smart Cities: The Future of Living Is Here
Updated: May 3
Municipalities, cities, and regions are streamlining their authorities, waste systems, transport, and energy networks through new technologies. However, citizens live mainly in their households, which are at the same time the basic economic and social units of modern human society. A real smart city therefore begins and ends at the level of “Smart Homes”, ie smart family or apartment buildings.
Large agglomerations are attractive for their productive economy and rich culture, but at the same time, they are challenging for maintaining clean air and plenty of greenery. We can certainly have both: urban comfort in a healthy environment. With an update to our houses, we won't flush toilets with drinking water, in summer we won´t overuse AC or suffer because of the heat. Rain will not have to run straight into the overloaded drains , and we will not have to buy energy from transcontinental distribution systems. Moreover, with our smart houses, we will improve the local climate.
Smart City and Water
Smart homes can capture service water, (sometimes known as ‘grey’ water) whether rainfall from the roof or from bathing and kitchen work. The water will temporarily remain, for example, in an underground retention tank that does not interfere with human movement. Consequently, according to current needs, the utility water flows through the house distribution system and serves a number of purposes:
• toilet flushing
• washing of dirty clothes (rainwater)
• cleaning housework (eg mopping the floor )
• car washing
• watering the lawn.
The household will thus cover up to half of its consumption from utility water . The captured water can be checked and controlled via the mobile application, or the entire system works automatically. At the same time, the smart house saves drinking water, which it draws from the central pipe network only for necessary purposes: drinking, bathing, cooking, washing dishes. Otherwise, it uses rainfall and waste water from bathing, washing dishes, etc. and recycles. The immediate effect is relief on water and sewage production for the whole city.
Instead of rainwater running down directly into the sewer, it can be captured and gradually released in special tanks, which will be used for watering plants during the dry season. The automated system can function similar to a dam cascade. A smart house or city will use the current weather forecast, which reaches about 90% accuracy when published five days in advance. Moreover, with the right redistribution of water, the sewerage and wastewater plants wouldn't overload during a deluge and won't cease to function.
Smart Cities and Cooling Systems
When outside temperatures rise and the sun beats down , inside the Smart Home you can stay cool without AC running all day. The blinds automatically lower to manage the inside climate. However, if the temperature remains too high, the Smart Home will start the air conditioning with electricity generated from photovoltaic panels. As already mentioned surpluses of energy can be transferred to the central system in order to properly cool public buildings or transport vehicles.
With smart homes, we can also improve our environment and reduce air pollution. From the sensor network, the local authority determines where it has to regulate car or industrial pollutants in order to have clean air and plenty of greenery in the city. Similarly, it is possible to monitor sound levels and build noise barriers based on the measured data. For example, smart beehives also have a lot of useful features - they can control their internal temperature with the help of solar energy to kill parasitic mites and protect bees.
New opportunities for city development
As soon as the city no longer worries about cooling, it can focus its efforts elsewhere. For example, it invests more generously in the school system and promotes prospective startups that will eventually help the public budget through tax levies. And in the meantime, the people of smart homes are free to do do what they choose - relax, study, work ... They no longer have to operate their appliances and other devices, but they are themselves cared for by intelligent technologies.
Smart City and Enterprises
The smart business generates higher profits. Compared to a family house, it has a significantly higher energy consumption, but thanks to its own sources (eg power plant or biogas plant) and self-regulating technologies (heating, lighting, shading, cooling) it saves much more. In addition, it can buy electricity and heat from its smart city and its households, increasing market competition and lowering prices.
A smart company does not have to overpay for human labor: mechanical operations are performed by robots, including electronic receptionists. Self-driving cars run in the production area. Sensors warn of any anomalies (excessive humidity, smoke, theft). When a component becomes worn out , the 3D printer automatically prints a new one. Of course, people are stil needed , but they spend their time more effectively because they can work anywhere: instead of having to fly to Australia, for example, they can perfectly see the situation through augmented (virtual) reality, physically present for example in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.