In general, IoT is playing a major role in changing our lives. Therefore, it is not rare that IoT has been having a big impact in the creation of smart cities. Many cities across the world have been making use of IoT. The use of IoT in their cities has the main goal to improve the living conditions. IoT provides the possibility to give every-day objects the ability to send and receive data. This is making the items we use smarter. Moreover, IoT is also helping our cities to become smarter. The following examples show different purposes of IoT for cutting down traffic, water and energy use, internet expenses and of cutting down crime.

Using Smart Sensors

IoT sensors can be found in the city help to monitor everything from the surfing conditions, traffic, and noise. A great example of a smart city using sensors is the city of Santander in northern Spain. For Santander, the concept of a smart city started with the idea to alleviate the parking and traffic congestion. With time, this idea has expanded into making use of IoT for different purposes. Currently, the city has over 12,000 sensors spread across the city. In fact, the city has electronic signs that indicate the nearest available space to drivers. Furthermore, the city also has dumpsters that indicate when they need to be emptied and the soil is monitored to reduce unnecessary watering. Clearly, it can be said that the historic city of Santander is making significant steps into becoming a smart city.

The city of Pittsburgh has been also making use of IoT to improve the city’s traffic jams. Stephen Smith, a professor of robotics at the Carnegie Mellon research lab, created a smart traffic light solution for the city. The city’s traffic signals make use of artificial intelligence to react to real-time traffic conditions. In fact, the use of these lights reduces the travel time by 25%, braking by 30% and idling by more than 40%.

Using Smart Sensors for Safety

The city of Santa Cruz, located in northern California, is making use of IoT to analyze crime data. In this city, the local authorities analyze crime data to be able to predict police requirements and to know when the presence of the police will be required. The tools that are used generate a list of ten places a day where property crimes are most likely to occur. Importantly, this helps the police be at the right place at the right time. In fact, burglary crimes in this city have decreased by 11% and robberies have decreased by 27%. The use of IoT and big data have been helping the city to monitor and improve their crime rates.

Another example of the use of smart sensors for safety is in the city of Columbus. Piper has launched the ¨Columbus Safety City¨ initiative with the use of beacons. The company has installed over 1000 beacons around the city and has more than 75 businesses and organizations on the local network. With the use of the Piper app, users can report their safety concerns or report suspicious behavior. Moreover, users can also call 911 or text the police with their accurate location data based on the nearest beacon number.

Building Cities with IoT in Mind

IoT sensors are one way to add to a smart city. But if the city’s infrastructure is not changed along with it, then it can just equate to surface changes.

Stockholm’s Stokab

Stockholm has been decades ahead of other cities in its developments to become a smart city. In 1994, the city installed Stokab. This is a competition-neutral fiber network which is owned by the city of Stockholm itself. The city designed this fiber network to provide competition neutral service provision and minimize the use of cables in the city.

Now, a couple of years later, the city makes use of the Green IT strategy in the city. This project uses technology in order to limit the environmental impact of its citizens. Moreover, the implementation of this fiber network has resulted in connectivity driven opportunities to reinvent the city’s urban environment. By having this underlying network, it made it easier for municipalities to support smart city developments.

Songdo International Business District

Beyond just fiber optics, entire new cities can be built with IoT in mind. South Korea has committed to the creation of a smart city in a completely different way. With the creation of Songdo International Business District, they have created the first smart city that was built from scratch. This city is built on 1,500 acres of land along the coastline of the South Korean city of Incheon. Furthermore, the city contains 106 buildings and 22 million square feet of newly constructed LEED certified space in 118 buildings. The city of Songdo has an impressive construction.

The city has amazingly designed buildings. Furthermore, the entire city is connected by an underground network of pipes that serve to funnel garbage directly from the resident’s apartments into a highly automated waste collection plant. All of the garbage is automatically sorted, recycled, buried or burned for fuel.


The use of IoT is very diverse in every city and it has been applied to help different issues in cities across the world. However, overall, IoT is a key player in the creation and development of smart cities. IoT has allowed governments to apply technologies for different purposes and to help their citizens have a better life.