Cities are no longer a concentration of building and shopping centers. Today, and even more tomorrow, cities are and will be “smart”. But what does a smart city mean?

Smart city is not a city with flying cars, robots and high tech’ everywhere, like in movies. Because of the ever-increasing number of city dwellers and the consumption of energy – and consequently the increase in greenhouse gas –  the optimization of resources and organization of cities has become vital. To do this, cities will use information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT). Smart city brings together several kinds of activities like green city, connected city, smart grid or electrics vehicles.

Source : tecdev cité par ERDF

What does the typical smart city look like?
Smart mobility
There are already connected parking spaces. Thanks to sensors placed on these ones, road traffic caused by the search for parking spot, was reduced by 25% in the city of Nice last year[1]. The system set up by Urbiotica[2] company allows, via an application, to guide the user to a free place and to check the duration and the cost of parking.
Smart lighting
A French specialist designed a clever street lighting system: the light produced is varying according to the current traffic.  Thanks to this system Electricity consumption decreased by 65% in Chartres (French city) and 82% in Bakio (the suburbs of Bilbao, Brazil).
Smart water network
Sensors placed in different points of the water network permit a better management of it. Leaks are especially identified more quickly, allowing immediate action.
Smart management
In Tel Aviv, an app named DigiTel makes it possible “to inform the municipality of any broken benches or potholes formed on the roadway[3]. With this app we can also search cycle roads or parking spot. This app is associated with a magnetic  card with which it is possible to pay bills, have access to cultural offers and be informed of future roadwork or closure.
These examples are just a tiny part of what is currently done in the field of smart city. There are many other projects to make the city smarter: an electronic idea box which allows citizens to make proposals to make the city smarter in Montreal, Urbanflow in Helsinki whose terminals are connected to tourist guides, Mobile ID in Barcelona that allows to make all its administrative procedures from its smartphone, a smart collection of waste in several cities and finally SmartWalk app which give information about public transport, etc.
Large or small, more and more cities are led to become smart.
[1] System abandoned because of its price
[2] “Smart city : 10 initiatives à prendre en exemple”,, lien
[3] « Top 10 des smart cities », le parisien, 21 juillet 2015, lien

A propos de Tiphaine D.