In the era of modern technology, the world is witnessing countless social and economic changes, including the emergence of the smart city system (especially in rich countries) that arose due to the population density in cities and the continuous flow of people from the countryside to urban areas. The face of governments and additional pressure in the daily life of the population, as this continuous increase needs strategic plans to face all expected developments.
Statistics indicate that 55% of the world's population currently lives in cities, and this percentage is likely to increase to 70% in 2050, and these numbers have many indications and consequences that cannot be neglected or overlooked.
What is meant by a smart city?
The idea of smart cities goes back to 1922 when traffic lights appeared in the streets, but the term "smart city" was only used when the dependence on the Internet and technological devices of various kinds increased, and there was what is called the digital revolution.
When defining a smart city, there is no fixed and defined definition of parameters. This concept can be added and changed from time to time, but it is agreed that it is a city that relies primarily on technology in its infrastructure to improve the quality of people's lives and raise standards of security and safety in roads and homes.
And most importantly, its ability to reduce pollution and preserve the environment through advanced systems that monitor waste recycling and water use without extravagance, increase green spaces and provide public places with Internet service.
As for the European Union, it is defined as the city that brings the city, industry and citizens together to improve urban life through integrated solutions that are more sustainable, including urban plans that compete with traditional methods.
What is the purpose of establishing these cities?
The first and direct goal of these modern cities is to improve the quality of life of the population and provide the best possible services, whether in the transportation sector, communications, environment, information technology, and even education, due to congestion and traffic congestion problems within cities, as well as road accidents, poor public transportation, lack of parks and gardens, and the spread of Pollution in all its deadly forms and the poor social care suffered by residents of large cities.
It is also not possible to reach a realistic solution without the governments assuming full responsibility, in partnership with the urban population and their cooperation in making this experiment a success, in order to transform it into a realistic life model
capable of reducing crises through the use of modern technology systems.
He believes that, at a certain point in time, the governments of countries will be forced to implement this project in their cities, due to expectations of a large population explosion and high pollution rates that cities will not be able to withstand, thus becoming vulnerable to disasters that are difficult to manage after it is too late.
An example of this city’s systems is placing electronic sensors in parking lots, so that they are able to inform the driver on his smartphone about the locations of vacant parking spaces, and thus help him save his time and reduce traffic congestion at the same time.
Among these cities, Barcelona, which smart water meters helped to save $ 58 million annually, in addition to South Korea, whose building costs decreased by 30% after the introduction of technology in the infrastructure, and transportation lines in Japan that reached 100 train cars with a capacity of 14 One billion passengers a year.
Do Arab countries rely on the smart city system?
There is no doubt that the implementation of this project requires huge capital that all Arab countries may not be able to provide due to their limited budgets, but some Gulf countries have this possibility in cooperation with foreign parties to implement it in the best possible way and with the least losses, as this idea is completely illogical in poor countries. Although it is more in need of it than rich countries, because the size of its problems is greater.
An example of the Arab countries that have succeeded in adopting this system is the Emirate of Dubai, which in 2013 announced its full transformation into a smart city in 2021, and that in the same year it will deposit government paperwork forever. As for the State of Qatar, it has presented its efforts and urban plans this year to transform its capital, Doha into a city. Smart provides high-level facilities and services to its citizens.
This is in addition to Saudi Arabia, which has established the initiative to "implement the concepts of smart cities", which seeks to implement this project in 5 Saudi cities by the year 2020 in partnership with the private sector.
As for the most prominent difficulties that these countries face, it is the manpower that is non-existent, especially since this type of city needs a lot of planning to improve the way of life inside it.
The ugly face of smart cities
Smart cities may promise the world to get rid of the most difficult crises, but integrating Internet-connected sensors into the infrastructure and thus recording all citizen movements and behaviors may raise some doubts about the possible uses of this data, so the responsible authorities are working to develop a monitoring system to verify data traffic and prevent any penetration or Any illegal use of it.
This is because smart cities depend primarily on data, and in order to obtain it, sensors must be used almost everywhere to measure temperature, regulate traffic, or measure pollution rates, and thus the privacy of the population remains exposed to whoever controls this technology, and this is what It was confirmed by LuxResearch, a research and consulting firm, which clarified that the total number of sensors that will be deployed in smart cities is one trillion devices by 2020.
Among the most prominent obstacles awaiting are the disputes related to determining responsibility with regard to covering the costs of smart sensors and the associated infrastructure, as the first target citizen remains to pay the costs of taxes for this type of city.
In conclusion, smart cities represent a new market