If you are a tech-savvy traveler that often visits Europe and North America then visiting a smart city is an excellent option for ease of accommodation, bookings, transportation, and overall convenience. Gone are the days when people visited breathtaking landscapes in the middle of nowhere with zero facilities and connection to the outside world.
In 2023, the travel industry around the globe has gone through rapid transformations with every new startup creating comfort and convenience for the masses. However, the center point of the major development in this regard has been the ongoing development of smart cities globally. Moreover, major technological breakthroughs like AI, IoT, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Extended Reality, Immersive Interfaces, Hyperconnected Networks, Datafication, and 5G provide a massive stimulus for future-facing growth and development.
What are smart cities?
A smart city is a combination of smart data collection and integrated deployment of digital solutions that allow citizens and government authorities to collectively and effectively manage complex assets, interconnected services, and essential resources.
The primary purpose of these establishments is to create a peaceful, convenient, and quality environment for the citizens and foreign visitors. One of the best examples of how smart city technologies are changing or will change our lives lies in the deployment of IoT sensors, interconnected devices, and smart apps globally that gather real-time information to simplify complex challenges and improve public services.
Among other top initiatives are free WiFi services, ride-and-bike-sharing apps, smart parking meters, intelligent street lights, and smart waste management systems. However, there are countless public and private initiatives and partnerships that are revolutionizing urban life, infrastructure, and sustainability.
According to Grand View Research, the global revenue of smart cities was $1,227B in 2022 and is forecasted to grow at an annual 25.8% CAGR from 2023 onwards, eventually reaching $6,965B in revenue by 2030.
Recent data by International Data Corporation also suggests that about 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban centers by 2050. Following this data, it is evident that the number of smart cities in the world which presently stand at 600 is only going to grow, and with it the future-facing applications of technological breakthroughs.
Now without wasting any time, here is a list of the top 3 tech-infused smart cities in the world with notable technological advancements and attractions:
One of the very early adopters and poster child for smart technology and innovation, Singapore is a futuristic marvel that captivates the imagination of every new visitor with its excellent urban infrastructure, efficient transportation system, and a strong focus on sustainability. Powered by digital innovation, the nation simply has an app for everything. A prime example of this is the Smart Nation App which functions as a one-stop-shop for government services and information.
Other futuristic features include the use of robocars for public transportation, lightning-fast fiber connections, contactless payment gateways, intelligent transport systems, digitized healthcare systems, and an AI-powered industry. The only downside of visiting Singapore is its strict laws and regulations accompanied by a high cost of living.
Seoul, South Korea
The birthplace of modern smart cities, South Korea is a pioneer among nations. A journey that started with a pilot project in Songdo has eventually evolved into an awe-inspiring and overwhelming confluence of ultramodern smart city projects, including Daegu, Daejeon, Bucheon, Seoul, Anyang, Sejong, and Busan.
Learning from its pilot projects that have revolutionized city development, urban planning, transportation, housing, agriculture, and more, South Korea has implemented its master plans in the city of Seoul.
Enveloped with modern skyscrapers and high-tech subways, Seoul is a great example of practical and radical applications of modern technologies. These include an IoT-based shared parking system, taxis with artificial intelligence, virtual stores, VR-plus cafes, and smart surveillance cameras. One of the mind-boggling innovations is the development of online electric vehicle technology (OLEV) that wirelessly charges vehicles from the road surface.
An emerging tech hub with a vibrant startup scene, Austin is rapidly becoming a benchmark for equitable infrastructure and inclusive socio-economic development. From smart transportation initiatives, including ride/bike and electric-car sharing programs to leveraging satellite imaging to detect water leaks, Austin has it all.
Moreover, one of the unique features of the metropolitan is its lightning-fast fiber internet. Besides having public Wifi hotspots that provide a reasonable speed, the city also features multiple private hotspots that are powered by Xfinity’s hybrid fiber-coaxial network. One of the fastest and most reliable internet services in the world, Xfinity Internet provides a download speed of up to 6 Gbps.
Potential Challenges & Limitations
The only challenge that comes with visiting a smart city is that it usually takes a few days to get accustomed to the technology and applications. One has to be quite literate and tech-savvy to understand them quickly.
Exploring smart cities is a great option if you as a person prefer a convenient travel experience or often mix business with pleasure.