Applications Of Sensors In Smart Cities

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Terms commomly used

Sensor: a device which detects or measures a physical property and records, indicates, or otherwise responds to it.

Smart sensor platform network: provides connection from the sensor or device to a centralized data collection platform


Many mobile devices have built in sensors, e.g., a GPS sensor, camera or accelerometer.  The number of built-in sensors is expected to increase with new versions.  Newer cars also have built-in computers handling sensor input, local processing and communications. Typical   applications   for   hand-held   or   car   mounted devices are traffic monitoring and prediction.  The devices send their coordinates, and the server software receiving this information decides if a specific traffic route is clogged or not. The   most   obvious   examples   can be   found within   the following Sensor networks may have a wide range of applications fields:

  • Safety and security
  • Energy monitoring and control: Smart power meters
  • Environmental protection    
  • Health

Safety and Security

An important aspect of smart cities and smart buildings is to make people feel safe and secure. Sensors can be used for a multitude of application, both to secure property and to keep    citizens     safe.    This    includes     intrusion     alarms, surveillance cameras, fire detection and flood alarms.  Such alarms can connect to   law   enforcement   and emergency response, but also to private operators and trusted neighbors.

Energy Monitoring and Control

Sensors can be used to  monitor  temperature  and  lights. Detection of movements can turn lights on, and  heating  and air-conditioning  can be optimized  to  not  spill  unnecessary energy.  Smart  meters  can  provide  information  useful  for energy planning, and also prevent  blackouts  and brownouts by adjusting the price of electrical power.

Environmental Monitoring and Protection

By collecting environmental data, the building itself and the city can get early warnings on pollution levels and other environmental problems, and initiate necessary actions. One of the aspects of smart cities is the optimal use of available resources. Sensors can help make optimal use of resources with connectivity to tell us when and where to save. These sensors can control, detect and manage the unnecessary use and make certain adjustments as per the need.

Water Management

At present, the major cities waste up to 50% of water due to pipe leakages. With sensors fitted on each pipes, water leaks can be easily detected and corrected before any heavy loss. Besides this, the irrigation systems in public parks can automatically turn off whenever rain is detected to save water.

Smart Streetlights

In cities street lights remain ON even when there’s no activity in the area (sometime in daylight too!). Additionally, it becomes very difficult for authorities to detect any fault and theft of street lights. With sensors, lights can go dim when they aren’t needed and authorities can get a text message almost instantly whenever there is a fault or tampering in street lights.

Transport Management (Smart Parking)

Traffic can be reduced with sensors that detect where the nearest available parking slot is. Motorists get timely information via text messages so they can locate a free parking slot quickly, saving time and fuel. A similar project is being carried out at San Francisco called SFPark – where parking spaces have been installed in 8200 on-street places. This concept would be replicated in several other states in coming days.

Real-time Pollution Management

Sensors mounted on poles can monitor the Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) of cities. Citizens can monitor the pollution concentration in each street of the city or they can get automatic alarms when the pollution level rises beyond a certain level.