How 19 smart cities are using big data to change their futures. Part 2.

smart city technologies

In Part 2 of How 19 smart cities are using big data to change their futures, we continue our focus on how big data is influencing big changes by smart cities around the world.

This post will feature a few more cities in Europe and then cities in Asia. If you missed Part 1, read it here.

Brussels, Belgium

In Brussels, residents rely on 4 train lines, 17 tram lines, and 50 bus lines to get where they need to go. STIB-MIVB operates these services and tracks 401 million journeys a year using 1,200 vehicles. The company teamed up with SAP and Cubis to extract the data and use the analytics to improve customer service and run the system more efficiently.

Reykjavik, Iceland

The city of Reykjavik was recognized for its smart city initiatives that target protecting the environment. They were the top city in this category. The city recently promoted a public transportation app by the public transport company called Straetó for use with city buses in the greater Reykjavík area. The app which has been downloaded 85,000 times encourages citizens to use buses more frequently. The Icelandic capital actively includes the public in its plans through Better Reykjavik, which is an online forum where citizens can submit their ideas for improving the services and operations of the city.

Paris, France

The French capital of Paris claims the third spot on the ranking. The report highlighted the city’s efforts with international outreach as well as mobility and transportation. The city is currently building out the Grand Paris Express which will feature 127 miles of fully automated metro lines and 68 new stations. The city also has plans to replace the entire 4,500-bus fleet of the RATP (the Paris Region’s primary public transport operator) with electric or natural gas vehicles (NGVs) by 2050.

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London, Great Britain

The London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) collaborated with the Bloomberg Associates consulting firm to release a new toolkit and online dashboard used to inform the city’s 32 boroughs about how to most effectively align and coordinate technology contracts and tools.

The “City Tools: London” dashboard maps 809 IT systems and contracts across all the borough governments, as well as staff skill levels for peer training opportunities. Under London’s government structure, each borough is responsible for its own contracts and municipal services, making it difficult to coordinate city-wide. City Tools is designed to identify possible collaboration opportunities and drive cost savings derived by leveraging the collective bargaining power of the boroughs.

Seoul, South Korea

As is the case in other cities, solving the challenges associated with waste management is a top priority in Seoul. Smart waste management solutions maker Ecube Labs has been engaged to use Big data and IoT to help solve those issues. The company has four main products – solar-powered waste bins which compact waste, fill-level sensors monitoring the quantity of waste in each bin, a big data platform collecting the information from the bins , and a platform that automatically refines manual collection routes based on machine learning algorithms. The company’s products have now been installed in more than 150 locations in Seoul, from parks to department stores, leisure venues, and tourist districts, resulting in a cleaner city and generating significant savings.

Earlier this year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that by 2020 it will install 50,000 Internet of Things (IoT) smart sensors to collect information on fine dust, traffic, and other issues related to the health and well-being of its residents. The city also plans to introduce a shared parking service that uses IoT sensors to inform drivers about the availability of public parking.

Tokyo, Japan

Not only is Tokyo the highest-ranking smart city in the Asia-Pacific region, it’s also the 4th best smart city in the world, according to the IESE index. As one of the most popular metropolitan areas in the world, the city boasts a high level of labor productivity. The city also ranked for its economy and human capital. Set to host the Olympic Games in 2020, Tokyo plans to use face recognition technology to improve security when hosting the Olympic Games in 2020. Driverless taxis will transport athletes and tourists during the event.

Shenzhen, China

With its goal of becoming a “socialist model city” Shenzhen is experimenting with a “party and technology” development model. The city is collecting and mining as much data as possible to provide analytics that exposes any potential risks and direct the provision of the most relevant public services for its citizens.  Earlier this year, Shenzhen established a Government Services and Data Management Bureau to manage big data collection and analysis.

In addition to building data sets that analyze populations and the economy, Shenzhen has also built “thematic databases” that could empower officials who address social disputes and public grievances. In 2013 Shenzhen launched another part of the plan, the “Weaving Net Project” which separated the city into thousands of data zones and assigned an “information collector” to each zone. 2 million surveillance cameras are stationed throughout the city to support this project.

Hong Kong, China

As part of its smart city agenda, Hong Kong implemented a new electronic personal ID (e-ID) system. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK SAR) government and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) contracted Ping An Technology to build the e-ID system.

The HK SAR government plans to issue an e-ID to all Hong Kong residents which will permit them to conduct online transactions via unique electronic identification. The government will promote this new economic service model directly to citizens in addition to providing this key electronic infrastructure for its smart city project.


Singapore continues to be recognized for its efforts around technology, governance, international outreach, and the environment. As a result, Singapore was classified as the 6th best smart city in the world by the IESE. The city implemented a transportation system called One Monitoring, which is a comprehensive portal citizens use to access traffic information collected from surveillance cameras installed on roads and taxi vehicles using GPS. Singapore also implemented a Parking Guidance System which provides drivers with real-time information about where they can find parking. In 2015, the city also introduced smart bins as part of a more effective waste management program.

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