LTE Blog

Mar 29, 2015

Urban Life in 2050: The Future of Smart Cities

By: Eran Eshed

Today’s urban cities are practically bursting at the seams. According to research from the United Nations, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a percentage that is expected to increase to upward of 66 percent by 2050. In fact, India alone is projected to add 404 million urban dwellers to its population by 2050.

This rapid growth of the urban population has caused daunting problems for city planners, such as overcrowded roads, excessive energy consumption and unemployment. As such, to build more sustainable cities and accommodate the growing number of residents, many city leaders are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT has forever changed the way urban cities operate. Cities that were once detached and inaccessible are now intelligent and highly connected. From Amsterdam to Seoul, cities are launching smart city projects to help improve quality of life for residents and better-support the environment. According to research from IHS Technology, there will be at least 88 smart cities globally by 2025, up from 21 in 2013.

San Francisco, for example, provides more than 100 charging stations in various locations to promote the use of hybrid and electric cars to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Copenhagen is also leveraging the IoT to improve environmental protection and reduce road traffic by developing smart bikes equipped with sensors that generate data on air contamination and traffic congestion.

The possibilities afforded by the IoT are endless; however, designing smart cities requires comprehensive technology infrastructure that’s capable of capturing and processing large amounts of data quickly and securely—which is where 4G LTE comes into play. The inherent capabilities of 4G LTE allow for built-in security as well as enable robust and scalable traffic management. It’s also more cost-effective as transporting data over a 4G LTE network can be done at a much lower cost per bit compared to 2G or 3G.

The future looks bright for urban cities. Soon they will be able to do things that only sci-fi enthusiasts could dream of before, like monitoring bridge conditions using intelligent sensors and conserving energy by automatically dimming street lights when no one is around.