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What is the role of IoT in smart cities?

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IoT is vital to the technological innovation of smart cities, including operational efficiency and a better quality of government service & citizen well-being. In this article, we will break down one of the most popular questions: What is the role of IoT in smart cities? As well as the most used sensors in IoT? Find out below!

What is IoT sensors?

The Internet of Things is the connection of billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet that collects and shares data. Sensors have also become a part of everyday life. You may not even notice but they are everywhere you go, in schools, smart cities with IoT, and buildings. Sensors can be used in a variety of sources such as heat, pressure, water, and motion – allowing for shared data with other connected devices and management systems. Sensors are now commonly used in IoT.


What are smart cities with IoT?

The main goals of smart cities are to improve policy efficiency, reduce waste & inconvenience, improve social & economic quality, and maximize social inclusion.

Smart cities use IoT to deliver connected solutions for the public – making IoT the most important factor in this topic.

The IoT is a network of connected devices that communicate and exchange data, such as connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyze data.

These cities then use this data to improve infrastructure, public utilities, services, and more.

In addition, a security system is implemented to protect, monitor, and control the transmission of data from the smart city network to prevent unauthorized access for the IoT network of the city’s data platform.

This is done to ensure for a truly smart city functions at its full potential.


So, what is the role of IoT in smart cities?

A smart city aims to optimize city functions and promote economic growth while also improving the quality of life for citizens by using Smart technologies and data analysis. But how exactly do we use IoT? Here we are going to answer our main subject: What is the role of IoT in smart cities?

How do we use IoT in smart cities?

Since the internet has the power to transform the world, IoT has now become one of the most important types of substructure in smart cities.

Through the effective use of IoT applications, smart cities can now make optimal use of public resources by raising the quality of services while lowering costs.

The key objective of IoT in smart cities is to provide easy and unique access to people’s sources with better utilization and optimization of transport surveillance, water, power, and maintenance within public areas.

The concept of smart cities is increasing transparency and action. There are few IoT applications that implement inside in smart cities as represented in the figure below;

Collect the data from the environment; collecting data from various sources based on the sensor type, examples include:

– Temperature sensors;  collect data from heat or cool
– Humidity sensors;  collect data from the atmosphere
– Gas sensors;  collect data from the air.
– Pressure sensor;  monitoring water supply networks using a SCADA.

Providing real-time alerts; can be done by setting up the required software systems to be a standard value alerting us if that value is higher or lower than the standard value. Some devices can signal automatically, such as humidity sensors that can water plants automatically at suitable times by inspecting and acting on gained information on the humidity in the soil. The application of this to smart cities can be:

– Smart meter; Automated meter reading that transmits consumption data to consumers including any concerned departments for remote monitoring and billing in real-time mode.
– Intelligent traffic management; Adaptive traffic management based on dynamic traffic modeling, with the help of real-time data from traffic sensors and cameras to prevent traffic congestion.

The system’s software works through data management processes by following the process of using data collected from sensors – transforming data into necessary information that can be useful to a machine or device

– Smart health; Sensor-enabled health screening machine to improve primary health-diagnosis services.
– Waste collection; Monitoring waste containers/bin fill levels to optimize waste-collection schedules and routes.
– Smart lighting; Automated smart lighting controls – dimming street lights when required through using luminance sensors and motion detectors.


Most used sensors in IoT

Temperature Sensors

Temperature sensors are used for:

Agriculture: Temperature sensors can help agriculture to check the soil and air temperature. These are convenient for farmers and help increase the efficiency of agricultural management. Farmers can manage their watering times, amount of water, and can predict the situation from the data for future preparations.
Cold storage: Requires temperature sensors to support and maintain fit environmental conditions. We can set the highest or the lowest temperature and it can alarm us It is commonly used in blood bank facilities, medical laboratories and vaccine storage.
Food industries: Sensors can be used in IoT systems to keep food safe during transport for refrigerated trucks. It can present the temperature in real time and store information to retrieve later. These will help to increase the quality and reliability of service.

Humidity sensors

Humidity sensors are used to measure the amount of water vapor in an atmosphere of air or other gases. The unit is the percentageRH.

The Humidity Sensor can measure the relative humidity in the range of 10-90%RH. Normally, it is used with a temperature sensor, but due to its small size and cheapness, it is usually used in households and industries.
Humidity Sensors are necessary devices to control the process of production in various industries:

Paper industry: Humidity Sensors are used for controlling humidity which supports enhancing the performance of the process of drying in the pulp and paper industry, sheet moisture control, and can help in the process of diagnostics.

Food industry: The moisture and temperature are necessary to produce food. It can affect the taste. The food industry needs devices to control standards such as dishTemp Thermometers, Food Check thermometers, and Frying thermometers. All these devices used humidity sensors are used for detecting moisture.

Clean Room/Vaccine storage: cleanroom or vaccine storage room is a room that requires special control. Because it has to be strict to various controls such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, and pressure, etc. These factors will affect the growth of microorganisms, bacteria, dirt, or contaminants. So the humidity sensor is indispensable for various locations such as hospitals, labs, and research centers, etc.

Agriculture: Humidity Sensors is used to measure the moisture in the soil or used to be water sensor. It can connect with the microcontroller by using the analog read the level of moisture or use the digital signal sent by the module. These sensors can make for an automatic watering system that you don’t have to plant your crop by yourself, you can set the system to plant for you.

Gas Sensors

Gas sensor used for detecting air quality change including the appearance of toxic, flammable or hazardous gasses and oxygen depletion. We are probably most familiar with this sensor because it is used in the home. It’s common use in mining, oil, chemical research and manufacturing.

Hazardous Gases are gases that cause health hazards whether it is irritating Illness or death or as a gas that can cause fire or explosion. which is dangerous to life and property.

Gas sensors with IoT – Detecting harmful gas in the air
Many types of industrial plants, whether it is oil or gas plants. electronic factory oil or natural gas refinery Oil and gas drilling rigs, chemical plants, pulp mills wastewater treatment plant Steel smelting and manufacturing plant petrochemical plant automobile factory to the semiconductor factory.

All have the potential to come into contact with harmful gases and vapors. They have to use gas sensors because of the risk of exposure to harmful gases and vapors. Therefore, it is imperative that they have to use a system or equipment to detect these hazardous gases over the course of their work to make sure the work area is safe.

“The Internet of Things is the game-changer for an overall business ecosystem transformation.”
-Joerg Grafe

IoT-Infrared Sensors

Infrared Sensors or optical sensors are devices that change resistance value or electrical conductivity when incident. It can detect obstacles by reflecting light when hitting an object. It will detect objects moving through the front of the sensor when the object passes through the sensor’s face.

Infrared Sensors have infrared receivers and transmitters. The (white) infrared signal will be output. And when an object is blocked, the infrared signal that has been ordered will reflect back to the receiver (black) and can be used to detect objects in front of it and can adjust the sensitivity detection distance near or far.

Health care
Medical used Infrared sensors to detect skin temperature. Infrared thermography can collect the overall temperature of the skin. The human skin temperature can show insight into the physiological problems of metabolism and thermoregulation. These can contribute important information to help clinical diagnosis and therapeutic assessment.

Home appliances
Infrared sensors can be used in air-conditioning and heating systems to help perform control of motion and state operations to save energy and maintain a comfortable climate. The sensors can scan the room to prepare and control temperature. It can present real-time essential environment information and calculate the heat from the window to adjust cooling or heating requirements.

Gyroscope sensors

Gyroscope sensor is also called Angular Rate Sensor or Angular Velocity Sensors. A gyroscope can measure the angular rate or angular velocity in 3-axis directions, measured in degrees per second.

It is referred to as a sensor used in navigation devices. We can use our smartphone to view 360-degree videos or photos, and the screen can rotate when we move the phone corner due to the gyroscope sensor.

Gyroscope sensors in smartphones
We used gyroscope sensors in smartphones. Gyroscope sensors can make the phone screen rotate automatically. Most smartphones use it today. It helps increase good user experience and provides information about its surroundings. Games in 3D such as Pokemon Go have to use gyroscope sensors to show augmented reality and AR can’t work without this sensor.

Gyroscope sensor applications
Gyroscope sensors are used in electronic control systems of vehicles, camera shake detection in digital cameras, robot systems, etc. Image blurring in cameras can be compensated by using the Gyroscope Sensor-based optical image stabilization system.

Utilizing gyroscope sensors for medical purposes
The gyroscope can be used to collect patient movement data by attaching the gyroscope sensor to a specific point. The gyroscope shows the direction of movement relative to the time in the form of a 3-axis graph and when the data is processed within the program. The results are displayed in a three-dimensional format similar to capturing motion in a movie. Then the patient’s movement characteristics are compared with the normal movements of a normal person. It is easier to diagnose where the patient has abnormal movements in detail.

Examples of IoT in smart cities

In terms of smart cities, Europe is currently leading the model. North America has lagged – even though it is the most urbanized region in the world.


A Smart City in England that you should look out for is the large town of Milton Keynes, located in the south of England. Milton Keynes has won three “Smart Cities UK” awards in the fields of Data, Communications, and Energy.

The heart of this city’s Smart City project emerged from the creation of a modern Data Hub. This data hub includes data on energy, water consumption, mass transit, society, economy, and satellite data which now has more than 700 sets of data gathered for the development of urban resources – allowing for the public to also gain access.

Data Hubs will be used in many areas such as mass transit that connects data to users – including the MotionMap application that describes the real-time movement of people and vehicles across the city including timetable information, parking lots, road routes, and traffic congestion estimates on the city’s routes to help city residents avoid bad routes to support in decision-making.


Singapore, despite being a country that has been around for more than 50 years, does not have a plan to turn just the city into a Smart City. However, the nation did come up with a “Smart Nation plan” as a country of innovation.

The Singaporean government aims to use information technology to create more jobs and generate more income. There is also a goal for the country to become a cash-free society via using the e-Payment system to cover all business transactions.

Singapore focuses on including technology in every aspect – whether collecting Open Government Data for the public and private sector or accessing government information to take advantage. However, to modernize their city with IT, Singapore needs to pay attention to Cybersecurity in data security by protecting the privacy of public information.

Singapore’s Smart Nation program also focuses on the public healthcare system. Through taking care of people’s health and transportation, Singapore sees that, in the next 15 years, the country will enter an aging society.

That will require health services to have effective transportation along with supporting technology. This will allow for the elderly to live comfortably. In terms of transportation, Singapore has developed a self-driving car and TeleHealth – which is also being used to provide patients with access to health care systems, even at home!

The Singapore government has also developed many applications that aim to be beneficial to the development of the quality of life of Singaporeans in all aspects – whether health with HealthHub app to record health data, MyResponder app that when a patient with a heart shock will provide initial assistance and promptly call an ambulance Travel with the MyTransport.SG app timetable route or safety with apps to help report incidents Or accidents and many other apps that the government comes out for the people to use as well.

The Netherlands

A livable country like the Netherland does not miss out on urban modernization projects as well. A prime example is Amsterdam, which has been innovating Smart City since 2009 and has over 170 projects developed jointly between the public and private sectors. The goal is to solve the problem of traffic jams. energy saving and develop public safety conditions

Amsterdam also aims to create a revolving city. with the Circular Amsterdam project, which aims to circulate the city’s economy. It also includes reducing waste and pollution. by recycling resources, Whether it is a project to turn rainwater into beer or material design original product in new ways to be more efficient

The iconic project for the city is called ‘City-zen’, which wants the city to switch to clean energy entirely. Both from solar energy, wind, biomass, and geothermal heat. It also wants to combine these energy uses with city systems, buildings, and the lives of citizens. such as solar energy storage plans It can also sell the excess energy that is not used.

There are also many projects in areas such as infrastructure and technology, education, mobility and transport, and the lives of citizens, among others. As a smart city, We can track the details of various projects. including operators, goals, follow-up, and participation through the city’s website as well. 


IoT Smart City Trends in the Upcoming Future

Fire Detection

Sensors track conditions in recreational areas and lush areas that may catch fire. Similarly, sensors can detect fires in buildings, and the sensor sends an alarm to local emergency services.

An IoT system’s remote control and diagnostic capabilities help firefighters know where to place staff and vehicles ahead of time.

When a smoke alarm goes off, a seat locator sends signals, or a water stream switch is activated, an IoT system sends alerts to fire crews.

Bridge Inspection Systems

Sensors track the structural integrity of bridges and alert city engineers to any problems.

Drones are used to inspect hard-to­-reach areas in bridges that have issues, and the engineer receives the position quickly to address the problem using the smart bridge system app.

The device complies with non-destructive testing criteria and works by attaching sensors to a structure, similar to a bridge, to provide continuous monitoring of the structure’s health.

The sensors are not meant to replace conventional inspections; instead, they serve as an early warning device that allows local authorities and asset owners to plan for on-site inspections and maintenance.

Waste Management Sensors

This trend comprises the best way to clean the neighborhood employing IoT smart technology. IoT sensors detect the amount of garbage in the area, allowing sanitation workers to clean debris along their routes.

IoT fills level sensors, robotizes, and improves waste management frameworks so that organizations can save money and go green. In short, IoT sensors are a much better choice for cities that want to ensure long-term, connected growth.


Sensors with IoT have become an essential part of our lives and also become a main part of city operation. So to conclude our main topic: What is the role of IoT in smart cities? IoT can collect, exchange and analyze data then deliver solutions to the public. With this, smart cities can then effectively improve social & economic quality for its citizens. It can help us collect specific information and manage work processes by the system.

The potential of smart cities is nearly limitless, and the growth of these cities should only accelerate in the coming years. But this is not the only area that the IoT will profoundly change soon.

Many businesses learning more about the technologies and processes of sensors with IoT. Understanding our rundown of the most used sensors in IoT, you can be the top resource for your client.

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