Smart Cities and IoT

As urban populations grow, cities are facing new opportunities and challenges. Modern cities use IoT technologies to ease the burden of urban growth and ensure a better quality of life. 

In this article, we share our experience in IoT development and show how IoT-based solutions for smart cities transform the urban jungle into “smart” cities. 

What is Smart Cities IoT?

Smart cities – like any IoT system – use devices equipped with sensors and actuators. Also, you can read more what is AioT.  The sensors collect data about a city’s inhabitants and infrastructure. But these are not the sensors that make the city “smart” – it is the ability to process the data from sensors and learn from it. 

The “brain” – the central cloud management platform – collects and processes the data. After processing, the control applications send commands to the actuators, which execute the commands to solve a specific problem. With networked machine learning (ML), it is possible to gain insights from the historical data volumes stored in data warehouses. 

Based on these insights, ML models are created for the control applications to automate more tasks and make everyday life more convenient. In practice, let’s look at how this applies to such a smart city infrastructure.

8 IoT Smart City Examples


Road traffic

Smart cities are concerned that their citizens can get from A to B as safely and efficiently as possible. How can this be achieved? Different types of sensors and smart devices come into play.

Vehicle sensors or mobile apps with GPS determine the location of vehicles. Sensors integrated into the road surface determine the number and speed of vehicles driving on it. 

The intelligent traffic lights, connected to a central cloud management platform, allow monitoring the duration of the green phase and adjusting the traffic lights in real-time to avoid traffic jams.

For example, the sensors integrated into the road surface identify that the speed of the flow of cars has dropped to 16 km/h. The cloud management platform identifies a traffic jam according to the programmed rules. 

To reduce it, the cloud sends commands to the control applications to trigger certain actions. These actions are defined by the platform users, e.g. moving traffic lights and diverting some of the traffic. 

The traffic light actuators then receive the command from the control applications and switch the lights. Once part of the traffic has been diverted, the traffic jam is cleared without police intervention.

Public transportation

Data from IoT sensors can help uncover patterns in how citizens use transportation. Cities can use this data to improve the travel experience of their citizens. They can also combine multiple sources, such as ticket sales and traffic information, to perform a more complex analysis.

In London, some train operators predict passenger car occupancy. They combine data from ticket sales, motion detectors, and CCTV cameras installed along the platform. By analyzing this data, train operators can predict how many passengers will enter each carriage. 

When the train arrives at a station, train operators invite passengers to spread out along the train to maximize the number of passengers in each carriage. This helps train operators to avoid delays.

Municipal services

IoT-based smart cities allow you to give people more control over their municipal services and, as a result, save money. IoT enables different approaches to smart solutions for municipal services:

  • Smart meters & billing

With a network of smart meters, the municipality offers citizens a cost-effective connection to utility IT systems. Now, networked smart meters can send data directly to a public utility via the telecommunications network and provide reliable meter readings. 

Smart metering enables utilities to accurately calculate water, electricity, and gas consumption for each household.

  • Uncovering consumption patterns

A network of smart meters enables utilities to gain more transparency and uncover how their customers consume electricity and water. With the network of smart meters, utilities can monitor demand in real-time. Based on this, certain actions can be taken. 

Allocate resources according to demand or encourage consumers to use less electricity and water in times of scarcity.

  • Remote monitoring

IoT-based solutions for smart cities also enable citizens to manage their municipal services. This allows citizens to monitor and control consumption remotely using their smart meters. 

For example, a family can switch off their central heating via smartphone. In addition, utility companies can inform households of a problem (e.g. water leaks) and send specialists to fix it.

Street lighting

IoT-based smart cities make the maintenance and control of streetlights easier and more cost-effective. If you equip streetlights with sensors and actuators and network them with a cloud management platform, they function as IoT devices. Networking makes it possible to manage street lighting remotely. 


The cloud platform users define rules that trigger certain actions (dimming, brightening, switching on, or switching off the light) based on the data about the device environment. For example, the lighting intensity on the crosswalk can increase when pedestrians cross the road.

You can also integrate data from lighting sensors with data from other sources, e.g. traffic networks. This enables dynamic control of the infrastructure. 

For example, if a bus is due to arrive at the bus stop, the street lighting can be automatically adjusted to a brighter level at that moment.

Waste management

Most municipal companies empty waste garbage cans on a scheduled basis. This is not an efficient approach, leading to poor bin utilization and unnecessary fuel consumption.

IoT-based solutions for Smart City help to stay informed about waste volumes. Routes for waste collection are optimized based on sensor data.

The elements in most smart waste collection systems include:

  • Sensors that collect data on fill levels, temperatures, and inclination;
  • Communication nodes for data transmission;
  • A central cloud management platform with integrated analytics tools and control applications to access, manage and analyze the data.

How Does the Internet of Things Smart Cities Work for Waste Management? 

The level sensors collect the data and pass it on to the central cloud management platform, where it is analyzed and used to trigger certain actions. For example, a level sensor identifies that the level in a container is close to an upper threshold. 

The control applications integrated into the cloud platform use predefined rules to take the right action, such as sending an alert via a truck driver’s mobile app. This helps to avoid emptying half-full bins. 

Platform users can collect statistical data on the fill level for each bin and manage all bins in that district. Using analytics tools integrated into the cloud management platform, they can gain insights from this data to optimize the routes and schedule for waste collection.


IoT-based solutions Smart Cities make it possible to record the parameters important for a healthy environment to keep it optimal. 

For example, to monitor water quality, the city can deploy a network of sensors in the water supply network. The sensors measure pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and ions. 

The data collected by sensors is transferred to a cloud management platform where it is processed, analyzed, and visualized. If a leak occurs and the chemical composition of the water changes, the control applications – a component of the cloud platform – apply predefined rules to trigger actions. 

For example, if a nitrate (NO3-) level exceeds the limit by 1 mg/l, the control application alerts maintenance teams about the contamination and creates a case for field staff to start fixing the problem. With vast amounts of data stored in a big data warehouse, the platform can apply networked deep analytics tools to uncover the patterns of water pollution.


IoT-based technologies for smart cities play a major role in ensuring public safety. For example, they can be used to detect gunshots. Some tools detect when and where shots are fired in public areas to alert the police. 

These tools use networked microphones installed in a city. The data from microphones is transferred to a central management platform. The platform analyzes sounds and detects a gunshot. 

The analytics tools integrated with the platform measure the time it takes for the sound to reach the microphone and determine the weapon’s location. When the gunshot and its location are identified, the control applications apply predefined rules to execute the action, such as alerting the police through a mobile app.


Aside From That, it is More From IoT and Smart Cities

IoT-based smart buildings are becoming another element in the complex network of the smart city. Smart building technologies integrated with smart power and data networks reduce electricity consumption and help improve public safety. 

For example, when smart buildings are equipped with fire detection sensors that are connected to a centralized smart city management solution, this helps to improve the response to an accident. 

Once a fire hazard has been detected, the building’s central control system triggers alarms. It also sends alerts to pedestrians and drivers in the area, prompting them to change their routes. 

What’s more, the sensor data in the building can be combined with surveillance data from CCTV cameras placed on the streets. This combined data is analyzed to create better evacuation plans. 

The analysis-based evacuation plans motivate people to choose optimal routes to prevent congestion and ensure a quick and effective evacuation. The actions listed above are only possible when multiple solutions are integrated with a central platform.

Summary of Smart Cities IoT

Smart cities IoT helps connect and manage infrastructure, and municipal, and public services. The range of use cases is diverse, from smart lighting and waste management to connected public transportation and security solutions. 

The thing they have in common is the results. Using smart cities IoT solutions leads to reduced energy costs, optimized use of natural resources, safer cities, and healthier environments.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exactly is Smart Cities IoT❓

Smart Cities IoT refers to integrating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in urban infrastructure to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and quality of life.

2. How does IoT contribute to traffic management in smart cities❓

IoT sensors collect real-time data on traffic flow, allowing for dynamic adjustments to traffic lights and routing to alleviate congestion and improve safety.

3. What role does IoT play in public transportation within smart cities❓

IoT data helps optimize public transportation by predicting passenger demand, improving scheduling, and enhancing overall service efficiency.

4. Can IoT assist in municipal service management❓

Yes, IoT enables remote monitoring of utilities like water and electricity consumption, leading to cost savings and more efficient resource allocation.

5. How does IoT benefit street lighting in smart cities❓

IoT-enabled streetlights can be remotely controlled and adjusted based on environmental factors and usage patterns, resulting in energy savings and improved safety.

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