Lessons from Smart Cities Around the World

Posted by on June 20, 2014

Cities have recently become a focal point for sustainable economic growth. The concentration of power and opportunity results from a social transition where more than half the world’s population now lives in cities and generates more than 80% of global GDP. Such high stakes have driven investment in smart city initiatives to fuel development, as well as build the competitive advantages necessary to attract businesses and retain skilled workers.

These initiatives are taking shape now. Major cities around the world are deploying networks and operating smart city applications such as street light control, traffic management and carbon emission sensing. Many Silver Spring customers in this sector have embraced the open approach inherent within our smart city solution and have been willing to share their experiences. We’ve recently captured the methodology in the form of best practices and the key priorities from four major cities around the world in a new eBook. Results include more efficient use of resources, direct savings from reduced energy consumption and compliance with environmental regulations.

You can find specific experiences from Copenhagen, Paris, San Francisco and Singapore outlined in the eBook, with the major factors guiding their decisions. Here’s a quick preview:


A global leader in smart city services that is often regarded as the world’s most sustainable city, Copenhagen aims to become a carbon neutral capital by 2025. The approach:

  • 20,000 networked LED street lights – saving energy, reducing CO2 emissions and lowering costs
  • Environmental sensors – improving efficiencies and public safety with automated controls
  • Standards-based IPv6 network – increasing ROI with support for future smart city services and adding more value for citizens


Mandated to fully deregulate its electricity retail market by 2015, Singapore plans to meet smart city modernization goals while lowering costs. The approach:

  • Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) – delivering more customer choice and lower energy costs through an open and competitive electricity retail market
  • IPv6-based network canopy – lowering risk with a standards-based infrastructure to support energy services as well as additional smart city applications
  • Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) deployment – allowing for scalability with the incremental addition of smart grid and smart city services for fast ROI ‘on-demand’


A hub for smart city innovation, Paris has committed to reduce public lighting energy consumption by 30 percent over the next 10 years while ensuring quality lighting for residents. The approach:

  • Integrated smart street lighting and traffic signal control – leveraging intelligent control systems to rapidly increase lighting efficiencies and traffic management
  • IPv6-based multi-application network – optimizing transportation services while ensuring a foundation to support other future smart city applications
  • Project pilot – quickly demonstrating improved lighting efficiencies by starting with a tightly scoped city initiative

San Francisco

Repeatedly honored for green initiatives, San Francisco continues to lead the way on sustainability and innovation. The approach:

  • Citizen participation in energy conservation – providing San Francisco citizens mobile and web access to precise, near real-time energy consumption data and ways to save
  • Demonstrated environmental impact – avoiding more than 925 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and reducing customer service calls through improved efficiencies gained from network sensor data
  • Enabling innovation – giving developers and community interest groups programmatic access to city information through the San Francisco Data initiative

Common denominators among these cities include a premium on solutions that deliver rapid community impact in addition to operational efficiency, the necessity of proven multi-layer security and the support for open standard integration with a wide variety of device and application vendors. Learn more about Silver Spring’s smart city solutions here.

John Reno is a product marketing manager for Silver Spring Networks