Smart Cities Research Initiative (SIRI)

Smart Cities Lexicon:
Getting our ABCs Right

Hari Srinivas
Continuing Research Series E-204. October 2023.

A smart city is an urban area that leverages advanced technologies and data-driven solutions to enhance the quality of life for its residents, improve sustainability, and optimize the efficiency of urban services. It integrates various interconnected systems, such as information and communication technologies (ICTs), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and sensors, to collect and analyze data in real-time. This enables the city's administrators, businesses, and residents to make informed decisions and take proactive actions to address the needs and challenges of urban living.

At the core of a smart city is the concept of connectivity. By interconnecting devices, infrastructure, and services, a smart city creates an intelligent network that facilitates efficient communication and collaboration. This network enables the city to monitor and manage various aspects of urban life, including transportation, energy distribution, waste management, public safety, healthcare, and environmental sustainability. The data collected from these systems is processed and analyzed to gain insights, optimize operations, and improve resource allocation.

The ultimate goal of a smart city is to create an environment that enhances the well-being of its residents, improves sustainability, and promotes economic development. Through the use of technology and data-driven solutions, a smart city can optimize resource usage, reduce costs, enhance public services, and foster innovation. It also encourages citizen engagement and participation, empowering individuals to contribute to the decision-making process and shape the future of their urban communities.

Presented below is a lexicon on terms associated with smart cities. Without doubt, this is a continuing list under development, and if you find any terms missing from this list, please do drop us an .

Three-dimensional representation or perception.

3D Mapping
Creation of digital three-dimensional models or maps of physical spaces or objects.

3D Printing
Additive manufacturing process that creates physical objects from digital designs.

5G Networks
Next-generation wireless networks offering faster speeds, lower latency, and higher capacity.

Air Quality Monitoring
Measurement and analysis of air pollutants to assess and maintain air quality.

Set of rules or instructions for solving problems or performing tasks in computer science.

Ambient Intelligence
Environments equipped with sensors and AI to respond intelligently and adapt to users' needs.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Development of intelligent machines capable of mimicking human cognitive processes.

Augmented Reality
Overlaying digital information onto the real world, enhancing perception and interaction.

Use of technology to automate tasks and processes, potentially combining AI and robotic process automation (RPA).

Autonomous Systems
Self-operating systems capable of functioning independently without human intervention.

Autonomous Vehicles
Self-driving cars or vehicles that can navigate without human control.

BAS Building Automation Systems
Integrated systems controlling and managing various building functions, such as HVAC and lighting.

Big Data
Large and complex datasets that can be analyzed for patterns, trends, and insights.

BIM Building Information Management
Digital representation and management of building information throughout its lifecycle.

Distributed and decentralized digital ledger that records and verifies transactions securely.

Circular Economy
Economic model focused on reducing waste, reusing resources, and promoting sustainability.

Citizen Engagement
Involvement of citizens in decision-making processes and public affairs.

City Dashboards
Digital platforms displaying real-time information and data about various urban aspects.

Cloud Computing
Delivery of computing services over the internet, providing storage, processing, and software resources.

Collaborative Economy
Peer-to-peer sharing or collaborative consumption of goods and services.

Digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for secure transactions.

Pertaining to computers, information technology, and virtual environments.

Measures to protect computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access or attacks.

Data Analytics
Extraction of insights and patterns from data using statistical and analytical techniques.

Data Centers
Facilities housing computer systems and network infrastructure for data storage and processing.

Data Connectivity
Ability to connect and exchange data between different systems or devices.

Data Security
Measures to protect data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, or destruction.

Database Management System, software for organizing, storing, and managing databases.

Deep Learning
Subset of machine learning focused on training neural networks to recognize patterns and make predictions.

Democratization (Technology)
Making technology accessible and available to all users, regardless of expertise or resources.

Digital Identity
Electronic representation of an individual's identity and attributes in the digital realm.

Digital Inclusion
Ensuring equal access and opportunity to digital technologies and services for all individuals.

Digital Nomads
Individuals who use technology to work remotely and travel without a fixed location.

Digital Twin
Virtual representation of a physical object, system, or process for analysis and simulation.

Disaster Management
Planning and coordination of activities to minimize the impact of disasters on communities.

Distributed Clouds
Cloud computing resources distributed across multiple geographic locations.

Edge Computing
Processing and analyzing data closer to the source or device, reducing latency and bandwidth usage.

Seamless integration and flow of data and computing processes from edge devices or sensors at the network edge to the cloud infrastructure, enabling real-time analytics, storage, and decision-making capabilities.

Use of technology to deliver government services, engage with citizens, and improve governance.

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Network of charging stations to support electric vehicle charging.

Embedded Devices
Computing devices integrated into other systems or products.

Energy Storage
Technologies for capturing and storing energy for later use, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Ethics, Digital
Moral principles and guidelines for the responsible use of digital technologies.

Fiber Optics
Transmission of data through thin strands of glass or plastic fibers using light signals.

General Data Protection Regulation, European Union's data protection and privacy regulation.

Goods, Smart
Products integrated with sensors, connectivity, and intelligence for enhanced functionality.

Green Energy
Renewable and sustainable sources of energy, such as solar, wind, or hydropower.

Green Mobility
Sustainable transportation solutions, promoting reduced emissions and environmental impact.

Grids, Smart
Modernized electrical grids with advanced monitoring, control, and optimization capabilities.

House, Smart
Residential buildings equipped with automation, connectivity, and energy management systems.

Housing, Smart
Intelligent and connected housing solutions for enhanced comfort, efficiency, and sustainability.

Hybrid Cloud
A mixed computing environment where applications are run using a combination of computing, storage, and services in different environments—public and private clouds, including on-premises data centers or “edge” locations.

Information and Communication Technologies, encompassing various digital technologies and communication tools.

Process of digital transformation and integration of information technology into various sectors.

Infrastructure, Smart
Intelligent and interconnected physical infrastructure for efficient and sustainable urban environments.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
Advanced technologies and systems to improve transportation safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

Internet of Things (IoT)
Network of connected devices and sensors that can exchange data and interact with each other.

Internet Sensors
Sensors connected to the internet for remote monitoring and data collection purposes.

Large Language Models (LLM)
An artificial intelligence system capable of generating human-like text by processing and understanding vast amounts of language data.

Lifestyle, Smart
Integration of technology into various aspects of everyday life for improved convenience and efficiency.

Lighting, Smart
Intelligent lighting systems that provide energy efficiency and customizable lighting environments.

Machine Learning
Subset of AI that enables computer systems to learn from data and improve performance without explicit programming.

Meters, Smart
Intelligent utility meters capable of measuring and monitoring energy consumption in real-time.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
Integrated transportation solutions that provide various mobility options through a single platform.

Interactions and experiences across multiple digital platforms and devices, creating seamless user experiences.

Open Data
Data that is freely available and accessible for public use and analysis.

Open Innovation
Collaborative and transparent approach to innovation, involving external partners and stakeholders.

Pattern Recognition
Automated identification and analysis of patterns or features in data or visual stimuli.

Tailoring products, services, or experiences to individual preferences and characteristics.

PP (Point-to-Point) Comms
Communication directly between two endpoints without intermediate routing.

Predictive Analytics
Analysis of historical data and statistical techniques to make predictions about future events or outcomes.

Privacy (Data, Cyber)
Protection of individuals' personal information and digital privacy.

Privacy and Security
Measures and practices to safeguard individuals' privacy and protect against unauthorized access or breaches.

Public Safety
Ensuring the safety and security of the general public through various measures and technologies.

Public Wi-Fi
Wireless internet access available to the public in specific locations or areas.

Real-time Data
Up-to-date and instantaneous data that is available and accessible without delay.

Resilient Infrastructure
Infrastructure designed to withstand and recover from shocks, disruptions, and natural disasters.

RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
Use of software robots or bots to automate repetitive tasks and processes.

Self-Healing Networks
Networks capable of detecting and repairing faults or disruptions automatically.

Sensor Networks
Interconnected network of sensors for data collection and monitoring purposes.

Shared Economy
Collaborative consumption and sharing of resources, goods, or services among individuals or businesses.

Shared Mobility
Shared transportation services and solutions, such as car-sharing or bike-sharing.

Smart Logistics
Intelligent and optimized management of transportation, supply chain, and logistics operations.

Social Innovation
Innovative solutions addressing social challenges and creating positive societal impact.

Remote work or telecommuting, utilizing digital technologies to work from a location outside the traditional office.

Tourism, Smart
Application of technology and data-driven approaches to enhance the tourism experience and destination management.

Ability to track and trace the history, origin, and movement of products or goods.

Transport, Smart
Intelligent and connected transportation systems and infrastructure for efficient and sustainable mobility.

Universal Identification
Unique and standardized identification systems or methods for individuals or entities.

Universal Robots, manufacturer of collaborative robots or cobots.

Urban Analytics
Analysis and interpretation of data to gain insights into urban systems and phenomena.

Urban Farming
Cultivation of crops and food production within urban areas, often using vertical farming or hydroponics.

Urban Heat Island Mitigation
Strategies and technologies to reduce heat buildup and mitigate urban heat island effects.

Urban Management, Smart
Data-driven and technology-enabled approaches to efficiently manage urban systems and services.

Urban Mobility
Movement and transportation within urban areas, including various modes of transportation and mobility solutions.

Urban Planning
Designing and organizing urban spaces and infrastructure to create sustainable and livable cities.

Urban Regeneration
Revitalization and redevelopment of urban areas to improve functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability.

Utilities, Smart
Intelligent and connected utility systems, such as electricity, water, or waste management.

Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) Communication
Communication between vehicles and other entities, including infrastructure and pedestrians.

Virtual Economy
Digital or virtual marketplace for buying, selling, and trading goods and services.

Virtual Reality
Immersive digital experience that simulates a realistic environment.

Water Quality Monitoring
Continuous monitoring and assessment of water quality parameters to ensure safety and sustainability.

Electronic devices or technologies that can be worn on the body for various purposes.

Wireless Sensor Networks
Networks of interconnected sensors that communicate wirelessly for data collection and monitoring.

Workforce Development
Initiatives and programs aimed at enhancing the skills and capabilities of the workforce.

Zero-Emissions Vehicles
Vehicles powered by alternative fuels or electricity, producing no emissions during operation.

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