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Which cities, trends and technologies made the smart cities news over the past 12 months? SmartCitiesWorld brings you its 10 most-read stories of 2022.

Digital twins and the metaverse – used together and separately – made the news in the smart city space during 2022, while the Saudi greenfield site Neom and the Korean city of Seoul continued attract attention for their advanced use of technologies.

It was also the year when record funding following the pandemic started to be channelled into key areas such as electrification that will help to accelerate a range of initiatives and hopefully make lasting and positive change in our cities. Digital equity rightly remains high on the agenda to ensure no sector of society is left behind by technology.

City leaders know there is no easy ride ahead but by sharing experience and knowledge they increase their chances of success. And that’s where SmartCitiesWorld comes in, with our mission to share ideas to solve urban challenges. We look forward to sharing your stories throughout the next 12 months but, before we leap into 2023, here’s a look at our most-read news stories of the past year:

  • Neom to launch cognitive digital twin metaverse platform

    Neom in northwest Saudi Arabia, which is being built from the ground up as a living laboratory, continues to attract a great deal of attention in the smart city space. In February, one of its subsidiaries, Neom Tech & Digital Company, announced it was building a 3D cognitive digital twin metaverse platform, which aimed to enable a “ground-breaking, mixed-reality” model for urban living. Called XVRS, the platform combines digital and physical architectures with hyper-connected technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), to seamlessly integrate the virtual and real worlds.

  • Seoul creates new spatial urban planning framework

    The first of two top 10 stories from Seoul that was also crowned smart city of the year at the 2022 Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. In March, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) released a draft of the Seoul 2040 Comprehensive Plan to create a new spatial planning framework for the Korean capital. SMG explained that the Seoul 2040 plan will create “flexible socio-spatial schemas” that reflect local social factors when it comes to urban land use. Moreover, the plan will focus on improving the quality of life of citizens and strengthening Seoul’s urban competitiveness.

  • More than 115 million smart buildings predicted by 2026

    n April, we reported that the number of buildings globally deploying smart building technologies was forecast to reach 115 million in 2026. Up from 45 million in 2022, it represents a growth rate of more than 150 per cent and reflects increasing demand for energy efficiency from businesses and residents alike, as energy costs spike, according to a study from Juniper Research. The analyst defines a smart building as a building that uses connectivity to enable economical use of resources, while creating a safe and comfortable environment for occupants. Juniper’s report recommends that vendors focus on building analytics platforms for the most value to be driven from deployments.

  • Can the metaverse and digital twins create a smarter world?

    It may be some years before we know the answer to this question but in October metaverse and augmented reality (AR) specialist Nearabl became a Bentley Systems iTwin partner to expand the use of the digital twin platform in the global infrastructure, construction and design industries. When combined with digital twin technology, Nearabl’s indoor navigation accuracy and augmented reality visualisation lays the groundwork for a built-world metaverse, creating the potential for significant innovation in the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure around the world.

  • Metaverse simulates rare scenarios in autonomous car testing

    And there was more from the metaverse when software company Oxbotica announced in June that its suite of MetaDriver tools could generate a vast bank of scenarios, which can be used to test and refine autonomous operations and behaviours, without ever needing to physically drive in them. MetaDriver includes virtual world simulation, automated discovery of challenging scenarios, and real-time data expansion. It is designed to help AVs answer three core questions: “Do I see it right?, Am I doing it right? and Can I trust myself right now?”. The AIs have learnt to automatically seek out rare, unusual, and unseen scenarios, known as “edge cases”, which allows both testing of autonomy systems against “corner cases” and for the systems to learn to handle them.

  • Singapore opens first physical 6G lab in the region

    While the smart city space is still working out how to maximise the value of 5G, in September, Singapore showed it is wasting no time in investigating the possibilities of 6G. Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has partnered with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to launch the Future Communications Connectivity (FCC) Lab. It has been set-up as part of Singapore’s S$70m Future Communications Research & Development Programme. Situated at SUTD’s campus, the FCCLab is the first physical 6G lab in the region and will look to combine 6G R&D with SUTD’s AI Mega Centre. FCCLab will accelerate cutting-edge research of future communications technologies and unlock breakthroughs in 6G research.

  • Bristol takes major leap in its plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030

    In April, the UK city announced it had chosen key partners for its Bristol City Leap decarbonisation project, which is designed to deliver lower energy costs, cleaner air, improved energy infrastructure as well as help boost the local economy. It selected cleantech integrator Ameresco and subcontractor Vattenfall Heat UK to deliver a range of services through the private-public partnership project, including wind and solar and energy efficiency upgrades, project financing, long-term operation and maintenance and more. The Bristol City Leap project is intended to operate over a 20-year term, targeting net zero goals through a series of energy and infrastructure investment opportunities, attracting approximately £1bn.

  • London borough to create 15-minute neighbourhood

    Fifteen-minute neighbourhoods are a compelling proposition and this programme announced in August in the London Borough of Newham is being financed by the UK’s Levelling Up fund. Newham is partnering with transport scale-up VivaCity, formerly known as Vivacity Labs, to help implement the programme. VivaCity traffic monitoring data will support two of the programme’s projects: Shared Spaces and Connected Neighbourhoods. Its datasets will be analysed to understand the impact of these projects over an extended period of time. Newham was successful in its bid in the first round of the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund to tackle geographical inequality through infrastructure investment and has been awarded almost £40m.

  • Seoul deploys smart city services to promote safety and wellbeing

    Seoul’s second top 10 entry is from April when the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced it was running a smart city services project to promote welfare and safety in the South Korean capital. The Smart City in Daily Life pilot project aimed to address diverse urban issues with information and communications technologies. Seoul chose Gwanak-gu as a testing bed for this project. The SMG will invest KRW1.35bn for two years to test futurist smart city technologies in real life. Seoul came up with the Smart City in Daily Life pilot project to apply advanced technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to Seoulites’ daily lives. Gwanak-gu will provide three smart city services: Smart Senior Citizen Hall, Smart Beacon Protector and Autonomous Robot Patrol Service. These services are closely related to the districts’ current issues.

  • Austrian city uses digital twin to manage its urban trees

    Urban forests are emerging as a key tool for cities to battle climate change and in July we reported on the use of a digital twin being used in the Austrian city of Leoben for more effective urban tree management. The city is creating a twin of some 3,000 trees, which will enable it to manage the population online and monitor and predict ecological developments using computer simulations. The tree inventory and platform for inspection and analysis are being provided by tech start-up Greehill, which was founded in 2017 by Gabor Goertz and Gyula Fekete as a research and development project to digitally transform urban forest management.

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Quelle/Source: Smart Cities World, 23.12.2022

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