At this point we will not spend much time defining a Smart City. If you want to dive into the concept of the Smart City, we invite you to review the article on what a Smart City is that we already shared on this topic.

To complement this information, today we will explore some real examples of Smart City, as well as trends that, over time, are proving to have bigger impact on services to citizenship.

Some examples of Smart City

The United Arab Emirates have created a city whose objective is not only sustainability, but also to be self-sufficient in natural resources. It is the City of Masdar, in Abu Dhabi. It hosts intelligent buildings that self-regulate the interior temperature, and systems to minimize the effects of the sun. Public transport is autonomous and the electricity grid is supplied 100% by solar panels.

New York is one of the most populous cities in the world, and one of the benchmarks in Smart City in the United States. In 2015, the so-called ‘BigBelly’ were introduced, rubbish bins equipped with wireless sensors to control their capacity, allowing the waste collection service to program routes more intelligently. This system includes a solar-powered trash compactor that helps increase the container’s capacity by five.

In Amsterdam, 67% of journeys through the city center are made by bicycle. Although surprising, bike traffic jams happen usually at rush hour. In recent years, the city has deployed a network of sensors and a traffic management system for bicycle users, in such a way that, during those hours of greatest occupation, alternative routes can be defined and proposed to users to speed up travel .

The case of Barcelona

We can also find many examples of Smart City projects in Spain, for example, in Barcelona.

Urban transport systems have introduced hybrid buses, solar panels on bus shelters and the routes of the bus network have been optimized to be able to make 95% of trips with a maximum of one transfer between two destinations in any city . All this thanks to big data and the analysis of the influx of users and their routes.

Waste management has also incorporated digital technology in a similar way to New York. A container system with the capacity to generate a vacuum system allows the elimination of bad odours, at the same time, it incorporates available capacity sensors in real time that communicate to a centralized system that allows optimal routes to be optimized every day.

A smart street lighting system with low-energy bulbs and sensors that can measure humidity, temperature, air pollution, and the presence of people or noise is used throughout the city. In this way, the lighting intensity is adapted autonomously, reducing energy consumption. This is usually one of the first measures deployed in any Smart City as it offers direct savings on energy bills at a very reasonable cost and with technology that has already been widely tested in a real environment.

Trends for Smart Cities

Smart Cities are not a thing of the future, they are very much of the present. We refer to the previous examples on how a public service can be optimized with the application of technological projects. But not everything goes. Disruptive solutions can be invented and ingenious projects deployed, but in the medium term, which ones will actually have real success colonizing the majority of cities? What ideas or technologies or services will be the ones that will capture the attention and budgets of municipal administrations?

The first reflection is that this will depend on each city. Depending on your location, population, culture, idiosyncrasy or even the political profile of your rulers at a given time, you will define your priority challenges. Some will advocate for traffic management and sustainable mobility, others for water management and others for citizen security among many possible lines of work.

Identifying those motivations to submit the most suitable proposals will increase the probability that an opportunity will become a real project.

That said, if we statistically analyze the most common projects, we see common trends.

Technological infrastructure Data interoperability

A Smart City would not be such if it does not have sensors that collect a flow of data on which decisions can be made to improve or manage the resources available. This information already demonstrates a large volume and will be exponentially growing in the future. For this reason, it is necessary to work on sufficient storage capacity, on robust communication networks and on management software that is as centralized and open as possible to guarantee the correct processing of data in real time and interoperability between services and administrations. Without investing in these technological infrastructure capacities, it is almost impossible to advance in the deployment of the Smart City.


All data collected and stored is highly valuable information that must be protected to prevent cybercrime. Let us remember that many of them may refer to personal data or behavioral habits of citizens, who expect maximum privacy in exchange for providing them.

For this reason, cybersecurity is one of the critical aspects that administrations must work on. Citizens will only join the wave of the Smart City if they feel to a certain degree confidence that their data is protected, and that there is no fraudulent, partisan or economic use of it.

Smart traffic management

In large cities, traffic is usually a major problem that generates major headaches for managers and citizens. In addition, its consequences in terms of air pollution and noise are very negative.

The implementation of technology (cameras, sensors…) that allows obtaining real-time data on traffic in order to optimize routes is an obvious line of work. For this, the use of classic urban equipment as a platform in which to integrate digital technology should be considered. For example, intelligent containment systems can contain impacts when there are road exits, but also prevent accidents and provide statistical information in real time.

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Public lighting service or waste management

Public lighting represents a very high expense for the city’s bill. For many years now it has been confirmed that an investment in autonomously controlled LED technology for lighting regulation is a technically robust and profitable project in the medium term.

The digitization of the waste collection service has started later but, as we have explained, there are already numerous pilot projects in this line.

Useful projects for Smart Cities

Smart Cities cannot be the new excuse to place technological services without value. Each proposal must quantitatively demonstrate resource efficiency, sustainability, useful information, or a better experience for people. And ideally several of these benefits combined.

At Metalesa we have been working for many years to provide optimal solutions for Smart Cities, thinking of the ultimate benefit that citizens will obtain, for example, our Metaurban® SMART, the world’s first smart urban parapet with active road safety, which not only contains, but also prevents and informs. An innovation that invites the private sector to transform urban equipment and take it to a new dimension by integrating it into the Smart City ecosystem.

Whether you are from a public administration and are looking for ideas, or a company interested in developing new products and looking for alliances, do not hesitate and contact us. We will be happy to help you and explore ways of collaboration.