smart city by sensative

Smart City

A smart city uses digital technology to connect, protect, and enhance the lives of citizens. It is a system of systems unified by Yggio DiMS

What is a Smart City?

With an urban population on the rise, creating livable and sustainable environments in which people and businesses can thrive has become one of today’s most pressing issues. Many cities address this by embracing the concept of “Smart City.” 

A smart city uses digital technology to connect, protect, and enhance the lives of citizens, like improving transportation and accessibility, improve social services, reducing environmental impact, and give its citizens direct influence over their surroundings.

A Smart City is a system of systems. A multitude of new and existing technologies, connectivity, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, mobile apps, open data sources, advanced analytics, digital twins, artificial intelligence (AI), and more provides the city operator and citizens with constant feedback to make informed decisions and automate different tasks.  

The next generation of urban evolution is here. Moving beyond just connected infrastructure and smarter things, the smart cities of tomorrow engage governments, citizens, visitors, and businesses in an intelligent, connected ecosystem. 

But, for this to happen, we must first add the right technology solution that connects with primary data from all disparate siloed solutions in different departments and organizations. Then we need to add external data sources, like open data, enterprise data from organizations like property owners and utilities, citizen data from apps, and more, to fully leverage the full potential of the smart city. 

Key drivers for IoT applications in Smart Cities

There are several reasons for municipalities to move to the wireless communications methods offered by IoT technologies.

  • According to the United Nations, the world’s population continues to rise. By 2050, they expect the population to increase by 2 billion to reach 9.7 billion. Around 2100, it could peak at nearly 11 billion. Currently, about 55 percent of the world’s population lives in cities; in the coming 30 years, this percentage will reach 68%. This means more pressure on the world’s cities to provide better sustainability management, resource utilization, and urban areas development.

  • Since cities are the engines of global economic growth—the 600 largest cities in the world are expected to generate 65% of global GDP growth through 2025—the impact of IoT technologies can be substantial.

  • Device cost is dropping rapidly, which is a critical driver in massively installing and maintaining devices. Additionally, the prices of data plans are decreasing, unlicensed LPWAN networks like LoRaWAN are growing fast, and wireless communications’ robustness is improving, enabling new use cases that would previously have been cost-prohibitive.
  • Efficiency is another important driver. In most traditional solutions, service personnel must physically go to the installation site to audit and maintain the location. These inspections are expensive and inefficient since they typically occur on a schedule whether or not a problem exists. IoT enables remote monitoring and management of many aspects of the location and installations, letting administrators get automated notifications in the event of any issues and respond accordingly, often without having to dispatch technicians onsite. Smart city technologies could save enterprises, governments, and citizens globally over US$5 trillion annually by 2022. (ABI Research, 2017)
  • Resource reduction is often a driver, for instance, in use cases such as smart street lighting and monitoring assets. These IoT applications make it possible to use sensors to gather data and automatically control resource use, resulting in a dramatic reduction in energy use.
  • When the new smart infrastructure is up and running, we will see the real effects of the IoT investments. Those will emerge in “non-technical” areas like social care, education, safety, and overall citizen well-being. That is when the futuristic smart city visions become the citizens’ enhanced everyday life.

10 most prioritized IoT applications for Smart Cities

According to a study by IoT Analytics, smart cities prioritize IoT technology in several interesting ways. The top priorities among decision-makers from some of the world’s leading smart cities are:


Connected public transport


Traffic monitoring and management


Water level/flood monitoring


Video surveillance and analytics


Connected streetlights


Weather monitoring


Air quality / Pollution monitoring


Smart metering – water


Fire / smoke detection


Water quality monitoring

However, just choosing a use case and starting to invest without serious thought can be very expensive in the long run. Traditionally all these niches are supplied with specialized systems from specialist suppliers creating a locked-in siloed solution for each specific case, leading to 40%-60% less value creation. In addition, the high level of fragmentation limits the ability to seamlessly knit these technologies together and use them effectively and efficiently to create a digital twin of the city.

A better strategy is to build a common IoT architecture for the whole city that connects to all use cases, freeing the data and releasing the value of the smart city. With access to all data, the city can create new cross-functional services for the good of the city and its citizens.

Boston Consulting Group examined some 75 smart-city applications that use data from a variety of sources. Nearly half the applications require data sourced from multiple industries or platforms.

They also looked at a broader set of potential future applications and found that an additional 40% will likewise require cross-industry data aggregation.

Since individual municipal departments often sponsor today’s smart solutions, many IoT-enabled applications rely on limited, siloed data, making them less effective and reducing the investment value.

Rise of city-as-a-platform

This new information-sharing partnership between the city, residents, and business forms the “city-as-a-platform.” 

The role of government shifts from “doing things” to enabling participation in civic innovation. As cities start to build upon the different expertise in the various organizations, they can embrace a new way of governance where the many stakeholders can utilize technology to reinvent core processes. Thanks to new data generated by the smart sensing infrastructure and the power of co-operation between all constituents, the city can make smarter decisions.

Video by RISE – Research Institute if Sweden that explains the need for horizontal architecture

Benefits of Smart City

With so many smart city projects worldwide, data proves the power of IoT. Data that other cities can use as benchmarks for their ROI calculations.

  • Overall, Barclays predicts that Smart Cities can generate 20 trillion U.S. dollars in economic benefits by 2026.
  • In the European Union, the digitization of services has reduced operating costs for 85% of cities. (OECD)
  • Smart city technologies could save enterprises, governments, and citizens globally over US$5 trillion annually by 2022. (ABI Research, 2017)

Yggio DiMS

Sensative's Yggio DiMS provides access to any IoT device from any supplier and technology

Use case

Kraftringen monitors EV-charging stations

Transportation and mobility

IoT-based systems reveal how citizens use transport, providing real-time data to manage traffic flow, public transportation, micromobility, autonomous vehicles, and more.

  • In total, IoT transportation applications could be worth more than $800 billion per year to cities worldwide. (McKinsey)
  • 10% – increase in road traffic capacity with smart parking (Visual Capitalist, 2020). 
  • Transportation Society of America also shows that 30% of all traffic congestion in cities results from drivers looking for parking spots.
  • 30% – decrease in passenger waiting time with connected public transport (Visual Capitalist, 2020). Reducing the waiting time in cities worldwide could provide time savings equivalent to more than $60 billion per year (McKinsey).


IoT and Smart City-as-a-platform will have a massive impact on public health—up to nearly $700 billion per year, mainly from air and water quality improvements that would reduce lives lost to pollution. (McKinsey).

  • According to Grand View Research, the size of the global IoT healthcare market will reach $534.3 billion by 2025.
  • 3–15% – reduction of the adverse health effects of poor air quality. (Visual Capitalist, 2020)
  • 50% – the estimated waiting time reduction through the use of IoT in the healthcare industry. (Appinventiv, 2020)
  • 57% – estimated increase in workforce productivity in the healthcare industry brought about by IoT. (Appinventiv, 2020)
  • 57% – estimated business cost saving by the healthcare industry through IoT. (Appinventiv, 2020)
  • 36% – estimated new business models created by the healthcare industry brought about by IoT. (Appinventiv, 2020)
  • 27% – improved healthcare industry collaborations among colleagues and patients because of IoT. (Appinventiv, 2020)

use case

Read about the smart living for senior tenants by HFAB

use case

Read about the possibilities for aging in place

Use case

Listen to Axis Communication talking about using video as IoT sensors in Smart City

Public security

For enhancing public safety, IoT-based smart city technologies offer real-time monitoring, analytics, and decision-making tools. Combining data from acoustic sensors, like gun-shot sensors, and CCTV cameras with new features like facial and number plate recognition deployed throughout the city with the data from social media feed and analyzing it, public safety solutions can predict potential crime scenes. This will allow the police to stop potential perpetrators or successfully track them.

Sustainable development, energy and water utilities

With the gradual rise in global warming, greenhouse effect, debris in oceans, and trash in streets, smart cities are making an effort to fight against the adverse effects of the environment. The energy-efficient building, air-quality sensors, and renewable energy resources provide an alternative to cities to shrink the ecological impact.

  • 10–15% – reduction in gas emissions due to IoT application. (Visual Capitalist, 2020)
  • 20–30% – reduction in water consumption through the use of IoT. (Visual Capitalist, 2020)
  • Smart City solutions can improve cities’ energy efficiency by 30% in 20 years. (Postcapes)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark – The city of Copenhagen’s smart lighting solution has dramatically reduced energy costs by approximately 70%.
  • $37 million – yearly savings of the city of Barcelona thanks to smart lighting. Not to mention the 47,000 new jobs. opportunities it opened. (Data-Smart City Solutions)
  • Using IoT smart meters to reduce the loss of electricity in distribution and sensors to detect water leaks could be worth as much as $69 billion per year globally (McKinsey).

use case

Read about our partner Imek and how we help Akelius reduce energy costs

LoRaWAN temp sensor

Meet the Strips MultiSensor +Comfort for LoRaWAN in the iconic Strips form factor. The architect's choice.

Use case

In the Future by Lund project we cooperated with Bintel for smart waste management

Waste management

Most waste collection operators empty containers according to predefined schedules. This is not a very efficient approach since it leads to the unproductive use of waste containers and unnecessary fuel consumption by waste collecting trucks. IoT-enabled smart city solutions help to optimize waste-collecting schedules by tracking waste levels, as well as providing route optimization and operational analytics.

Citizen services

Smart City is not about technology or infrastructure; it is about improving the city for its citizens’ everyday life, and technology is an enabler.

In many smart cities, residents are easily connected to their city’s governing body, for instance, using mobile apps. Here they can interact and give feedback in areas like maintenance, disability services, urban planning, education, recreation services, waste schedules, and more. 

In Paris, the “Madame Mayor, I have an idea” program has experienced a flood of more than 5,000 citizen proposals to spend €500 million on citizen-initiated smart projects.

Building the Smart City through cooperation enabling platforms also opens up new business initiatives, replacing tax-financed government services. Waze and Citymapper are a couple of examples that improve citizens’ lives without costing the city anything. The public sector would be the natural owner of about 70% of the applications, but 60% of the initial investment required to implement the full range of applications could come from private actors. (McKinsey)

It used to be that cities jumped on a technology train looking for a problem to solve. Furthermore, they were in the hands of big companies forcing their proprietary systems on cities without city officials truly considering what the city needs, what the citizens want, and how that technology would benefit and impact communities.

A solid, smart city strategy should always focus on the problems you are trying to solve and consider the technology solution next. To be successful, you need the horizontal architecture provided by Yggio DiMS that enables the free choice of solutions and suppliers for a specific need. 

Use case

The city of Lund drives service innovation with the Lund Open Sensoring City project

Yggio DiMS

Sensative's Yggio DiMS integrates any IoT device from any supplier and technology with any IT system


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