Using IoT To Tackle the Urban Problems

Urbanisation is the progression of people from rural areas to urban areas enabling the cities and towns to grow. The migration happens as people find rural areas as the place with hardship and primitive lifestyle. When we look at urbanization and migration patterns, it seems that by the end of 2050, the urban inhabitants will outweigh the rural population. Here are some of the factors which lead to the growth of urbanisation:

  • Industrialisation and commercialisation
  • Social benefits and services
  • Employment opportunities
  • Modernisation and change of lifestyle
  • Rural urban transformation

Urbanisation contributes many positive effects if it happens within the proper limits. However, expanding urbanisation will certainly result in many adverse effects. Today, the issues with urbanisation deal with degradation of the maintenance of healthy population on the cost of increased pollution, physical infrastructure for water, transport, electricity, environment depletion and many more.

  • One of the major concern is the degradation of the environmental quality of air, water and noise. Pollution has become a serious issue that leads to the change of climatic conditions which results in global warming.
  • Traffic congestion, faced by urban cities is a severe problem which is caused due to the increased vehicles on roads. The emission of CO2 into the atmosphere increases the carbon footprint which is highly harmful to both humans as well as environment.
  • Solid waste is a crucial problem in urban society, as there is a poor management of collection and disposal of waste. Most cities do not treat sewerage waste properly which directly drains to the water bodies causing pollutions.

These are just a few examples to illustrate the vibrant urban problems around us.

How to overcome these concerns? What are the solutions of urbanisation?

In this modern world, advanced technologies can assist you to solve or reduce urban problems. Internet of Things (IoT), is the new trend in technology which is transforming every corner of our life.

What is IoT?

In simple terms, IoT refers to a system of interconnected objects that can collect and transfer data over a wireless network. This can mean everything from a common household thing to business assets, smart device to smart cities and a lot more. This niche technology works without any human intervention which is made possible by integrating simple computing devices like sensors in all kinds of objects. IoT trend is going to impact all the industries across the verticals including urban cities too.

How IoT solutions can tackle urban problems,

To better handle urban assets, many towns and cities are upgrading their infrastructure. Smart cities aren’t just a dream of the future, it can be easily achieved with the help of IoT. The main objective of a smart city initiative is to enhance the service levels, citizens’ well-being, economic development and sustainability. The niche technologies used to build a smart city makes cities more effective and efficient, which is necessary, as the urban population will grow rapidly over the next few decades. The economic and practical benefits seen in smart technologies are many. It enhances the living conditions of the citizens and businesses services, among many other benefits.

Three major urban problems and the IoT solutions to fix it:


Consistent transit delays, long hours of commute, traffics, congestions are the serious issues faced by the urban people. Smart technologies are the only solutions to make urban transport system efficient and convenient.

  • IoT-aided sensors in vehicles enable tracking and monitoring of the fleets providing smooth public transportation. The smart connected devices like sensors, CCTV’s collects the data instantly which helps officials and the public to plan smartly which reduces the congestion, enables efficient vehicle routing and reduces the traffic problems in urban areas.
  • The tracking solution empowered by IoT provides added flexibility to the authorities to the know the real-time location of the vehicle and also where the vehicle is heading to. It also enables admin to know the traffic patterns of the city and make informed decisions.
  • When technology is integrated with the urban transportation system, it improves the efficiency, which cuts the number of vehicles on the road thereby reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Consider an example, The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has launched an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in order to overcome the daily transportation challenges and enhance the public commute.
  • ITS incorporates magnificent features like GPS-enabled Vehicle Tracking System (VTM), Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETM), Passenger Information System (PIS), control room and data centre, BMTC mobile application.
  • The GPS device integrated in the bus tracks the real-time time movement, stops, deviation early arrivals, late departure and much more information are gathered. Public can get updated on the information instantly with the “BMTC App” which can be easily downloaded from the Google Play Store.
  • PIS gives the complete bus information like bus number, arrival and departure etc. with the help of information displays placed at each bus stop.
  • The innovative IoT-based ITS technology by the Bengaluru city is appreciable which solves many complex transportation issues in an urban city.

Solid waste management

Due to urbanisation and industrialization, large amount of solid waste is generated every day, everywhere. The consequence is that the garbage is scattered and the authorities find it hard to collect and dispose of it. The waste produced in a city should be properly managed to prevent the detrimental effect it could have on the people and the environment. IoT based solid waste management can make the urban environment smart, clean and healthy.

  • Deployment of smart bins and tracking of garbage collecting vehicles helps in real-time tracking of waste collection and disposal. The integration of technology has made waste management smarter and highly efficient.
  • IoT enabled devices like Sensors, GPS, GPRS and RFID are the recent technologies used for smart waste management which creates a healthy environment.
  • Ultra-Sonic Sensor – The sensor attached to the waste bin detects the level of garbage accumulated in the trash bin through ultrasonic waves and alerts the authorities before it overflows.
  • GPS, GPRS and RFID – These technologies when coordinated together helps in fleet management, route administration, dumping area determination etc. It creates an efficient framework and helps in smart waste management.
  • Motion Detection Sensor – The sensor placed outside the trash bin helps in automatic closing and opening of the trash bin whenever a person disposes the garbage. It is the best way to maintain the environment without scattering the waste around.
  • Similarly, IoT-enabled sensors can track the amount of alternate fuel produced from the waste being treated. This benefits the cities to meet their fuel requirements and leverage the profits of solid waste management solutions.

Environmental Pollution

Some of the effects of urbanisation,

  • More than 90% of people live in places with unhealthy air quality, of which 7 million people die prematurely every year.
  • 4.3 million people die each year as a result of pollution.
  • Pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare.
  • Pollution will reduce staple crop returns by 2030.

Increasing population, rise of vehicles on road as well as the operations of factories are the major reason for the pollution. Here are the few IoT solutions for urban cities to tackle environmental problems:

  • Air-quality sensors can be integrated with the public means of transport which can detect the level of CO2 emitted.
  • IoT-based devices can be also used to measure noise, humidity, dust and many other factors affecting the environment.
  • Improving water quality is also a much-needed solution for urban cities. IoT technology can also improve water quality by tracking the levels of pollution in real-time.

Living in an urban world is challenging. The use of IoT devices and sensors are proving to be the most powerful tool to fight urban problems. It’s time to start adopting technologies and IoT networks which allow us to monitor and combat the existing challenges. IoT will reap you a brighter future!

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