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How smart city projects help municipalities achieve further savings

How smart city projects help municipalities achieve further savings
More and more, smart city has become a popular concept across the world. An increasing number of municipalities have either deployed or are trialing smart city solutions to make themselves more livable. While these solutions play a critical role in raising the citizens’ quality of life, they also contribute to further cost savings for different stakeholders.
That was the point raised in a whitepaper by ABI Research titled Smart Cities and Cost Savings.

Cost savings for government

According to the whitepaper, smart city cost savings are identified on three levels: city government, residents and enterprises. For the city government, savings can be achieved through various means, including reduced energy consumption by way of smart street lights. “It is important to distinguish between the cost savings accomplished by replacing traditional lights with LED technology and turning street lights into smart, connected systems. While LED lighting on its own results in savings of 50 percent or more, adding connectivity services can yield an additional 30 percent cost saving, the bulk of which is achieved through intelligent, centralized trimming (on/off cycles),” the whitepaper said. “Adaptive dimming at night and activity-based triggering also contribute to energy savings. Over and beyond energy savings, smart street lights can shave 30 percent off repair and maintenance costs through advanced, real-time diagnostics.”
Other areas cited by the paper in which city governments can see improved cost savings include transportation, where smart traffic lights and mobility-as-a-service can help optimize road usage and transportation infrastructure, and artificial intelligence. “Automation and the use of AI are going to be instrumental to reducing costs by reducing the number of employees, but also through closed-loop demand-response systems, automatically adapting and reconfiguring systems and networks to match fluctuating demand levels,” the whitepaper said. “From a (city) government perspective, achieving cost savings through automation-enabled employee reduction often comes at the cost of lost political capital with both unions and citizens. On the other hand, the adoption of technology has shown to invariably result in economic development, a key driver of smart city deployments and offsetting the direct loss of government-paid employees with new jobs created in the private sector.”

Cost savings for homes and enterprises

For residents of smart cities, they can achieve cost savings via various technologies and solutions such as remote healthcare, online universities and smart home and home sharing. “A range of smart home technologies are becoming available, allowing owners to reduce expenses for security, heating, cooling, lighting, electricity, and water,” the paper said. “House sharing platforms can alleviate the pressure on accommodation capacity, especially for temporary residents, visitors, and tourists. Initiatives like Airbnb are aimed at optimizing utilization rates of housing, especially during events.”
While many of the cost-saving aspects of smart city technologies for citizens also apply to enterprises, a number of specific, additional opportunities exist, the paper added. These include freight transportation, commercial building management and smart manufacturing plants.
The paper concluded by saying amid the smart city trend, opportunities for IoT and smart city ecosystems abound. “High concentrations of people and enterprises in a rapidly increasing number of mega cities and an overall shift towards urbanization allows unlocking the power of service and sharing paradigms, achieving higher asset utilization rates, obtaining economies of scale, and ultimately a more sustainable environment on a level never seen before,” it said. “For technology suppliers, this opens up a huge opportunity to position solutions and justify smart city projects and deployments by demonstrating fast ROI driven by direct cost savings.”

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