Smart cities are the answer to the big challenges of the future

Cities are getting bigger in the global context. Every 16 months, the population of a city exceeds the ten million mark. This ongoing process of urbanization therefore creates challenges that need to be mastered to ensure quality of life. Without intelligent technology, giant cities can become monster cities. The challenge is therefore to design the city of the future to be technologically intelligent and networked so that urban living spaces can be cleaner, safer and more stress-free.

The opportunity: to improve the quality of life of the residents

According to a forecast, no later than 2050, 60 percent of humanity will live in cities. A whole range of things are desirable to improve the quality of life in a big city. In particular, the gap between poor and rich is often incredibly large in the big cities. A city of the future, an intelligent city uses intelligent and connected technologies to support us in our daily lives. They allow us to save time, use new forms of mobility and breathe cleaner air. In short, Smart City technologies are working to improve the overall quality of life for their residents. Less congestion, smart homes and energy efficient use of buildings are just a few of the benefits. All this is also necessary to take the people in the poorer outskirts of the city and to inspire them for the Smart City project. Because it only succeeds if the inhabitants take advantage of it.

Find solutions to the important challenges

Air quality, energy efficiency, urban mobility and safety – these are four of the most challenging challenges resulting from urbanization. Air pollution is one of the biggest problems in many cities, especially in emerging markets. It is important to reinvent the cities instead of just changing individual symptoms. The IT and Big Data is only one resource among others and not the sole engine of Smart Citys. It also takes long-term cultural and political decisions to develop new cities – no matter if you call them „smart“, „open“ or „thinking“.

Contain the air pollution

Systems for collecting data and monitoring the climate can provide valuable services here. Big data is the buzzword that can be used to combat air pollution. Researchers believe that there is potential for using big data to improve emissions estimates, because in many areas of daily life, large amounts of data are already being collected. For example, data sources could be used for traffic that are already covered by government agencies and companies like Google. This includes satellite observations that can be used to assess land use and plant growth. This would allow emission estimates to be refined and air pollution predictions to be improved. Cities could then use the data to introduce measures to improve air quality, for example, to change traffic flows.


Avoid traffic jams and parking

More people mean more roads and roads – there is a need for action on urban mobility. The Bosch product portfolio already includes intelligent mobility solutions. In the future, systems for connected parking, autonomous cars, electromobility and multimodal transport will be used. For example, the vehicles recognize a parking space when they drive off and pass on the data anonymously to other drivers nearby so that drivers can concentrate on more important things. Motorists who are looking for a free parking space, are therefore guided without loss of time directly to the next parking lot. People who park quickly in a parking garage or other open space do not have to drive around the block several times – that means emptier roads, lower emissions, less fuel, time and money, and above all reduced stress.

Energy efficiency as a solution to climate problems

The everyday electricity comes from the outlet – but where is it produced? Across countries, countless regenerative, mostly decentralized generation plants have to be integrated and controlled into the existing system. In order to reconcile the fluctuating feed-in of photovoltaic and wind power plants with the energy demand, the use of digital technologies is necessary. In addition, a state-of-the-art infrastructure must be created that will enable a real-time energy industry in the future.

Solutions that make it possible to combine energy from a large number of predominantly regenerative sources and centralize it are necessary. Such progress helps cities to reduce CO₂ missions.

Big Data and Drinking Water Hygiene

Water is the basis of life and water hygiene is given high priority in metropolitan areas and large cities. Contaminated and contaminated water meets there especially many people. Several factors in the planning, construction and operation of water supply systems contribute to a permanently high water quality.

If water stops for a long time or the temperature in the pipes increases, the risk of bacteria formation increases. Big data solutions promise insights that were previously unavailable.

Changed flow conditions and temperature fluctuations in pipes can be constantly checked by using sensors. Problem areas are recognized in the first place and countermeasures are made faster and more accurate. The monitoring of sewers also allows pinpoint identification of damaged or clogged pipes.

Challenge security

The increase in violence and crime in the giant cities is immense. The crime statistics show an increase in crime among growing cities. Many city dwellers are worried that they will be burgled or violent if they have to walk the streets alone at night. Intelligent technology can provide useful services and create a better feeling. For example, networked surveillance cameras can be a deterrent to crime, both in city life and in privacy. For example, in the event of a disaster, the cameras can also identify where help is needed. But not only the cameras, even miniature sensors, can contribute to more safety: A motion detector can detect, for example, whether someone tinkers at windows or doors.



IOTA can get stuck in everything

IOTA is the key to enabling all that I’ve described before, because IOTA delivers the key advantages over the classic blockchain. There are already a number of pilot projects. The city administration of Taipei is working with the IOTA Foundation on the implementation of various Smart City solutions. IOTA’s Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is to be used, among other things, as the basis for a digital citizen card and for the environmental sensor network Airbox. The IOTA Foundation, together with the city administration of Taipei and the start-up BiiLabs, wants to explore further implementation options. The latter has also specialized in DLT solutions.

As a first project, the partners are approaching the development of the digital ID. Here, the DLT technology should ensure the security of manipulation of the citizen card in order to prevent identity theft or fraud. The Citizen Card of Taipei is used, inter alia, in elections and also allows the use of various government services. In addition, the BürgerID host medical information for the healthcare sector. Reliable technological protection of these data sets is therefore essential.

In addition, DLT technology is also to be used in the already launched smart city project Airbox. This is a widely spread environmental sensor network that collects air quality data in Taipei. The measuring sensors are already installed on private buildings of citizens as well as 150 schools. The cooperation with IOTA should now enable real-time monitoring of air pollution.

Written by Markus Gebhardt; public IOTA


[1] Bosch;

[2] Modeling emissions for three-dimensional atmospheric chemistry transport models,

Dr. Torsten Fischer,  Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht

[3] Smart Citys als Antwort auf die Urbanisierung; Hartmut Wiehr in Internet World Buisness

[4] Smart Community: So hilft Big Data in Städten, Kommunen und Gemeinden,
Christian Schön
; Big Data Blog

[5] IOTA und Taipeh schließen Smart-City-Partnerschaft, von Stefan Bordel in com professional