What is a Smart City? The Elements of a Modern Future with AI

Technology developers continue to integrate AI into nearly any device that collects and analyzes data. These new AI devices are leading to the “smart everything” trend across most industries, with smart consumer devices, smart hospitals, smart grids, smart retail, and even smart cities.

In this post, we’ll cover the different smart technologies many cities are adopting to improve efficiency, sustainability, and safety.

We’ll also discuss the challenges with developing smart city solutions and how technology developers can overcome them.

What is a Smart City?

A smart city is a municipal Internet of Things (IoT), or a network of sensors that collect and share data to generate insights that improve city infrastructure. This is similar to Internet of Medical Things technologies that are bringing AI to the healthcare industry. Integrating AI into IoT devices allows municipalities to leverage their data for behavioral and predictive analytics.

Most cities have already deployed many sensors, especially video cameras, that collect an enormous amount of data. As these IoT devices are deployed on a larger scale, however, human personnel can’t monitor all of the data they collect on their own. That’s why technology developers are now leveraging AI to automatically analyze this data and generate real time insights.

A new generation of smart city devices can improve the quality of life for residents in a number of ways:

  • Efficiency: Reducing congestion by monitoring the flow of traffic with AI and optimizing traffic lights based on real time analytics. Smart parking systems can also lead to more efficient and denser parking in congested city areas.
  • Sustainability: Saving energy and reducing carbon emissions with AI-powered solutions that automatically sort garbage, manage water usage, control street lights, and more.
  • Safety & Security: Integrating AI into physical security systems like IP video surveillance and access control systems to detect and prevent public safety incidents in real time.

The Challenges with Delivering Smart City Devices

Despite the increased demand for smart city solutions, there are numerous challenges involved with integrating AI into physical sensors and cameras. Many AI and software vendors lack the hardware, infrastructure, and logistics experience necessary to deliver fully-integrated smart city solutions.

For one, hardware technologies like graphics cards and processors are evolving at a rapid pace. It’s hard for technology developers to keep up with AI and hardware innovation when deep learning inference processing increases by 14x per generation. This means it’s difficult for AI and software companies to choose the right component to deliver smart city products with optimal performance and extended lifecycles.

These new AI devices also need to fit in with the broader infrastructure and framework for smart cities to ensure adoption. For example, an AI-powered physical security solution needs to integrate seamlessly with other products from leading video surveillance and access control vendors. It’s only becoming harder to ensure interoperability as the smart city ecosystem continues to grow each year.

Finally, the software companies developing innovative AI applications often lack the expertise to build fully-integrated physical devices. However, seamlessly combining the logical software and physical hardware is crucial for adoption by municipalities. Most smart city device customers expect a plug-and-play solution that can immediately begin producing value.

How AHEAD Streamlines the Development of Smart Devices

AI will likely become a foundational technology in the coming years, and organizations will continue to invest in smart devices to improve efficiency and safety. Technology developers in physical security, industrial manufacturing, healthcare, and many other industries will need to adapt to these new demands.

AHEAD offers strategic guidance for designing, building, and integrating complex devices. Our comprehensive services can help technology developers simplify their entire hardware program, including hardware design, infrastructure configuration, logistics, and supply chain visibility for smart devices.

For physical security devices in particular, AHEAD has built over 50 predesigned reference platforms, including IP video recording servers, access control servers, analytics and AI servers, compute servers, client workstations, and video storage arrays. These turnkey security platforms fit most physical security use cases, but our in-house engineering team can also design different architectures to meet other smart device requirements.

AHEAD’s capabilities allow software companies to fully offload their hardware program so that they can focus on developing innovative AI applications for smart cities. Get in touch with us to learn more.

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