5 Things You Need to Know About Smart Cities

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IT applications such as smartphone apps and cloud-based infrastructure management can be powerful tools for improving the quality of life in urban settings.

While smartphone apps and cloud-based infrastructure management can be powerful tools for improving the quality of life regardless of where you're located, if you're a city-dweller these five facts will help you reap the benefits of technology.

1. It's not all cool technology. Though the definition of the term "smart city" is still fuzzy, it suggests using advances in transportation, technology, infrastructure, sustainability and governance to improve the quality of urban life. But smart cities don't actually need the latest and greatest tech.

"Being smart is about redefining processes and engaging citizens," says Jennifer Belissent, an analyst at Forrester Research. For example, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority created an app that citizens can use to pay electricity, water and sewer bills. Vancouver set up a website called Recollect.net where recycling schedules are posted and alerts are sent via tweet, text or phone call.

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