Internet of Things & Smart Cities Offer Intriguing Prospects


The concept of ‘smart cities’ is based on government and private entities initiatives to revolutionize the construction industry. The principle behind the process is that smart cities are being envisioned through IoT (Internet of Things), which somehow discovers a route through networks.

IoT is also helping the construction industry evolve ‘software as services’ application through cloud computing, resulting in resource management within cities.

According to the estimates from the European Commission, nearly 100 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. The crux of IoT is that it allows the user to use any path or network in a service format.

IoT, XaaS and its impact on the construction industry

Through technological intervention, the goals of IoT and smart cities have coalesced together to create a common goal of sustainable development.

The concept of Software as a Service is pretty popular among cloud users. IoT evolves the connection between devices to a higher level, denoted by ‘Everything as a Service’ (Xaas).

The Xaas Model works well for the construction industry on the account that it has a ‘pay only what you use’ model, which brings down costs. This can be understood by a simple example of resource consumption. A construction company has to deal with different supply chains during peak and off-peak seasons. Since the resources bought by the company would remain idle in the off peak season, it is an unnecessary burden on the enterprise.

In the case of XaaS, the model uses online applications relying on a cloud service provider, whereby the business is only required to pay for the resources it consumes.

Custom construction software works on a similar principle of resource efficiency and cutting the time needed to complete a project. The idea is that cloud based services can simultaneously manage tasks such as drawing and contract management, reducing the cost attached to each individual step. The IoT principle comes in since the devices are interconnected, each updating its status regarding task completion.

Smart cities and XaaS

The ulterior benefit of XaaS is that it shifts the role of the construction enterprise from ICT development towards innovation and core competency. Since it uses cloud systems, dependency on a high end IT infrastructure is reduced. This is how the construction industry can gain advantages of business agility, scalability, green remodeling, less maintenance, disaster recovery and much more through XaaS.

As per estimates, investment of XaaS in city development is expected to increase to $121.5 billion in 2015, a high percentage growth compared to its $37.8 billion valuation in 2010.

Various smart city projects have been launched across the globe using the technology that has been described above. Examples can be seen with the IMB smart planet, Oracle iGovernment and Smart cities future.

The practical usage of this model within the construction industry is by using devices connected through IoT as Sensors. The OpenIoT project focuses on the usage of open source middleware framework, creating self-managed cloud environments. In such environments, data feeds from ‘sensors’ can be generated and analyzed to improve the state of construction.

Modern cities are known for their large concentration of resources and facilities. It is through their cost effective and efficient use that the construction industry can garner higher profits. The model of IoT, XaaS and smart cities provided above gives a complete framework for launching and operating a successful construction enterprise.