This information can then be deployed to manage city space, public resources, and community services in a much more efficient way. By combining the power of technology with the intelligent use of data at the level of individual buildings – to monitor factors such as occupancy, location, and weather conditions through Internet of Things (IoT) sensors – building management systems can improve energy efficiency by up to 40 per cent. They can also reduce reactive maintenance efforts by 40 per cent in less than a year, resulting in huge savings in operational costs for energy and human capital.
Utilising data analytics and machine learning technologies to implement such efficient design and operational models at mass across cities could radically reduce our energy needs. 70 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions come from cities. Moving to a future where urban spaces are designed more efficiently, from the ground up, could play a vital role in meeting ambitious emissions targets.
Furthermore, both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are currently exploring ways to integrate sustainable technologies into city infrastructures, as part of their aim to achieve at least a 50 per cent energy usage saving. A villa in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, the Middle East’s first smart city project, uses around 72 per cent less energy and 35 per cent less water than a comparable villa elsewhere in the city.
As well as efficiency, another big outcome of technology is transparency. Knowledge gleaned from the analysis of data gives all stakeholders the power to make informed choices, and gives citizens the power to hold decision-makers accountable.
In Saudi Arabia, the AlNama smart city has committed to become a zero-carbon community. Because transparency and data are at the heart of smart cities, all parties will be able to ensure that these sustainability targets are met.
The intelligent utilisation of data can help city authorities to save money, reduce energy consumption, and improve the living standards and wellbeing of their citizens.