Now’s the Time for Smart Cities

Modern cities continue to grow at a rapid pace, with 55 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas today and a projected 13 percent increase to that number by 2050.1 Cities around the world are being challenged to provide tangible and equitable economic, social, and environmental benefits for their citizens. They must also provide better quality and more sustainable services, improve public safety, address congestion and environmental issues, reduce costs, and promote local economic competitiveness. Scaling existing infrastructure and human resource-intensive processes is cost prohibitive, unmanageable, and unsupportable, so cities are looking to technological solutions to alleviate these pressures.

As population has grown, technology has taken unprecedented strides. With the introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, edge computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G communications networks, the technological tools needed are now available, and transitioning to a smart, technology-supported city is now possible.

Embedded smart city technologies (sensors, cameras, and edge computing) can now provide near real-time awareness of issues requiring attention, and data collected and analyzed from these devices can be used to optimize city operations. Smart city solutions can improve basic services, enhance public safety, increase sustainability, and inform planning and policy making. They can also be used to enhance public experiences and optimize operational efficiency at local sports stadiums, theme parks, and resorts or improve parking and safety on university campuses. The reach and impact are broad, but every application helps result in a better quality of life for citizens.

Smart City Success

See how cities around the world are using smart city solutions to build resilience, increase public safety, and create healthier, more livable urban environments.

Streamlining Temperature Checks with AI

Digital Barriers and Vodafone offer organizations a managed, secure digital screening solution that can be scaled for any venue. Confidently provide safe event spaces with livestream monitoring and access to near real-time information provided by Intel-powered heat detection cameras coupled with innovative IoT cellular connectivity.

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Creating Healthier Office Environments with Smart Building Technologies

IAconnects now offers an IoT Smart Monitoring Solution Kit for social distancing management. With a MobiusFlow Edge Gateway powered by Intel Atom® processors monitoring and reporting on communal area occupancy in near real-time, building managers can regulate entry and monitor cleaning cycles to provide safe spaces for employees and visitors.

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Risk-Detecting AI Is Ethical by Design

With architecture based on the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit, SensorMax uses sensors, rather than cameras, and AI-powered software to proactively detect and prevent public safety incidents.

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Smart City Benefits

As city governments, transportation authorities, and public safety agencies adopt smart city solutions and technologies, they unlock new tools, practices, and insights that can improve responsiveness, services, and quality of life for their citizens.

Enhanced Public Safety

In a smart city, embedded cameras and sensors can detect accidents, alert first responders, and stream live video from the field to command centers so that the city is constantly aware of events as they unfold.

More Effective City Services

Smart city solutions can improve basic services through automation (like smart trash cans that ask to be emptied) and provide early insight into trends (like growing potholes) so cities can respond to urgent needs quickly.

Increased Sustainability and Resilience

From environmental monitoring to managing changing climates, cities are using technology to understand their environments, reduce their impact, and build sustainable futures.

More Tools for Public Health

Smart city solutions for face mask detection and social distancing, fever checks, and sanitation help cities create smart and safe spaces for their citizens. Officials can use smart city data to target public health resources at neighborhoods that need it most.

Reduced Congestion and Improved Urban Mobility

Smart cities can retime traffic signals, reroute traffic, and alert commuters to the fastest routes and modes of travel so people and goods keep flowing—all automatically.

Building More Resilient, More Sustainable Cities

Smart city solutions are helping urban centers, buildings, and transportation systems respond to public health crises, changing climates, and ever-increasing growth.

Building Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World

Read this smart cities and transportation technology response guide to learn how cities are preparing for the new normal.

Smart City Video Technology Drives Smarter Decision-Making

This solution brief details how Videonetics applications running on Intel® architecture give modern cities timely, accurate information to improve efficiency and quality of life.

How IoT and AI Are Helping Create a More Sustainable Future

This CCS Insight report, developed in conjunction with Intel, examines the role IoT is playing to slow climate change and improve overall ecology.

Why Smarter Cities Are Safer Cities

This eBook discusses opportunities, technology trends, and smart city solutions for achieving public safety goals.

The Technologies That Make Smart Cities Work

Smart cities require a highly orchestrated system running multiple technologies. From embedded sensors in roadbeds to smart cameras at intersections, Intel® hardware, software, and engineering span the entire smart city universe.

Smart Video, Computer Vision, and Artificial Intelligence

Computer vision systems use artificial intelligence to analyze images and video footage to identify issues or trends that machines and people can act on, preventing unexpected or bigger problems from appearing in the future.

Learn more about computer vision

Smart Transportation and Urban Mobility

Keeping people and goods moving is a critical challenge for cities. Smart roadways and transportation fleets help alleviate congestion, improve safety, and make commuting less stressful.

Explore smart transportation

Smart Lighting

Smart streetlights combine energy-efficient LEDs, cameras, loudspeakers, and public Wi-Fi to create a connected network that provides a foundation for expanded services such as accident detection and road congestion monitoring.

See how smart street lighting works

Kiosks, Wayfinding, and Smart Spaces

A single kiosk can transform a street corner into a smart, interactive space where people find information, pick up a Wi-Fi signal, or summon help.

Read about smart kiosks

Converged Edge Networking

Every smart city sensor, camera, and kiosk must have connectivity. Intel® networking reference architectures and software provide an open platform that makes it easier to work with mixed 4G/5G and fixed networks.

Learn more about the network edge

Ready-to-Run Products and Solutions


The Intel® Partner Marketplace includes hundreds of smart city products, solutions, and service providers. The right partners can get you up and running faster, and they may be able to lower your upfront costs and help you save over the long haul.

Frequently Asked Questions

Smart cities capture and analyze data from the sensors, cameras, and computers that are embedded throughout a modern city. This web of devices and data creates an increasingly sophisticated layer of intelligence that can make everything and everyone, from traffic signals and trash cans to policy makers and police officers, smarter and more effective.

Smart city solutions are expanding in cities and towns of every size, from smart traffic lights to smart public safety. Three examples of cities investing in technology and building momentum on the path toward becoming a Smart City include Singapore, San Francisco, and Reykjavík.

Smart city technologies include video cameras, IoT sensors, and devices that can sense, analyze, and act on their own very quickly when powered by AI delivered over high bandwidth 4G and 5G networks.

Cost: Adding cameras, sensors, and computing devices to city infrastructure takes funding. However, costs can be offset through an incremental build-out or by expense reductions and new revenue streams resulting from smart technology use.

Data management, security, and privacy: Once installed, smart city technologies create and depend on massive amounts of data. Collecting data, plus cleaning, analyzing, and sharing it across systems is a huge effort. Additionally, protecting people’s privacy and the city’s information is critical. Addressing data management and systems integration with smaller projects over time, using hardware-based security technologies and end-to-end measures, can help cities tackle these challenges in a secure manner.

Intel and our partners are leading the shift to open, software-defined smart city solutions that can run on off-the-shelf hardware. We’re building solutions with open standards, so today’s technologies work with tomorrow’s innovations. We’re helping cities extend AI practically everywhere and deliver smarter services, safer streets, and a healthier, more sustainable urban environment for every resident.

Cost: Adding cameras, sensors, and computing devices to city infrastructure takes funding. However, costs can be offset through an incremental build-out or by expense reductions and new revenue streams resulting from smart technology use.

Data management, security, and privacy: Once installed, smart city technologies create and depend on massive amounts of data. Collecting data, plus cleaning, analyzing, and sharing it across systems is a huge effort. Additionally, protecting people’s privacy and the city’s information is critical. Addressing data management and systems integration with smaller projects over time, using hardware-based security technologies and end-to-end measures, can help cities tackle these challenges in a secure manner.

Intel and our partners are leading the shift to open, software-defined smart city solutions that can run on off-the-shelf hardware. We’re building solutions with open standards, so today’s technologies work with tomorrow’s innovations. We’re helping cities extend AI practically everywhere and deliver smarter services, safer streets, and a healthier, more sustainable urban environment for every resident.