5 Real World Applications of Cellular IoT For Smart Cities

Why is there a pressing need for smart cities? According to the UN, by 2050, 2 out of 3 people all over the world will be living in urban areas. This means 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities. As a result, there is a pressing need for more sustainable planning as new challenges arise.  

Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to alleviate the pressures of urbanization. For example, tackling environmental deterioration and mitigating traffic congestion, to make day-to-day living more comfortable and secure for all inhabitants. 

This article provides an overview of the most common cellular IoT use cases in smart cities and current examples of successful deployments. 


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Smart City use case #1: Connected Public Transport 

According to a report by IoT Analytics, connected public transport has a 74 percent adoption rate. This makes it the leading IoT use case in cities. This should come as no surprise considering efficient and reliable public transport is of growing importance. For instance, real-time fleet monitoring of public transportation vehicles give passengers updates on locations and timings for their routes. It also informs passengers about delays and best routes to reach their destinations.

Example: In 2003, Seoul was one of the first adopters of intelligent applications across its public transit system. This move not only eased challenges of taking public transport, but helped increase mass transit ridership from 30 percent to 70 percent. Similar initiatives and results have been reported across other cities including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Spain, and the UK.


Smart City use case #2: Traffic Monitoring and Management 

Another pain point stemming from a growing urban population is the increase in traffic, which is detrimental for already congested roads. Again, IoT applications across a variety of use cases within smart cities can help alleviate congestion. For instance, smart GPS, toll booths, EV chargers, asset trackers, infrastructure, and more. These devices collect valuable data that can be used to alter traffic patterns and enable smarter mobility management. Specifically, if a car meets with an accident, drivers can immediately share the location with authorities that can help and seamlessly redirect traffic flows.  

Example: The cities of Stockholm and Copenhagen have rolled out an intelligent traffic light project that enables the visualizations of traffic patterns in newer and more effective ways. Influencing traffic flows and congestion such as the prioritizing of bikes and buses during peak hours by reducing or extending green light phases according to the situation.  

Smart City use case #3: Smart Parking

Driving around parking lots to look for available lots, or leaving your engine idle while waiting for one is not only frustrating but damaging for the environment. Smart parking applies cutting edge IoT solutions to help drivers find a spot effortlessly. In this case, by leveraging real-time occupancy and payment data, smart technology can easily inform a driver of an available parking spot.  

Example: The City of Cologne features the world’s most comprehensive, on-street parking guidance system. The solution covers 100 percent of available on-street spaces in the Nippes area, providing detailed guidance to direct drivers to the closest available lot. Helping to reduce emissions while increasing energy efficiency and the quality of life for residents. 


Smart City use case #4: Logistics 

Logistics has become a vital aspect of urban life. Improving logistics management, reducing idling times and enabling electric last-mile deliveries, can reduce pollution as well as increase road safety. Especially given the increasing demand for more consignments within shorter delivery times.

Example: In Paris, 4.3 million goods are delivered in a week alone, which is on track to grow to 6.5 million by 2030. Fleet telematics and additional traffic data can inform planning decisions. This includes mapping faster routes to reduce last-mile delivery times and increase gas efficiency and enabling decision-making about mobility hubs. Helping transform how logistics vehicles move and park to improve safety, efficiency and sustainability. 

Smart City use case #5: Utilities 

IoT technology provides cities with the tools to conserve utilities such as electricity, water and gas. The use of smart sensors can quickly identify leakages and structural weaknesses, reducing unnecessary truck rolls with better scheduled maintenance. It even passes cost savings measures to residents by giving them more transparency, accuracy and control over their home utilities.  

Example: Cape Town in South Africa has been using smart metering technology to encourage water savings and combat water crises. Smart water meters track resident consumption usage which is relayed to accounts. With increasing awareness water usage, the city saw a 40 to 60 percent drop in the amount consumed. 



These use cases across various smart cities are just the tip of the iceberg regarding use of cellular IoT for better resource management within urban populations. More comprehensive, real-time data gives stakeholders the ability to understand or even predict patterns. Allowing them to respond with faster and lower-cost solutions. Not only will it meet the current needs of residents but continue to deliver a better quality of life for the future.  

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Alternatively, if you are looking to set yourself apart from other IoT providers with your deployment, schedule a one-on-one meeting with us. Together with our partners, we have a relentless commitment to meeting your smart city needs. Or read more about our solutions and other industry applications here and here

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