Smart Cities - July eNewsletter

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Written by Bernard Fong

Over the past few years, advancements in infrastructures coupled with information and communications technology have bought medical and healthcare services to cover virtually all parts of a smart city, from general health assessment to preventive care and emergency response.

Written by Aristeidis Mystakidis1, Nikolaos Stasinos1, Anestis Kousis1, Vangelis Sarlis1, Paraskevas Koukaras1, Dimitris Rousidis1, Ioannis Kotsiopoulos2, and Christos Tjortjis1*


The effects of COVID-19 have caused severe strains to healthcare systems globally. Healthcare infrastructures are tested to their limits in almost every country and city, smart or not. This article utilizes deep and machine learning forecasting algorithms, such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), XGBoost and Random Forest. Using the sliding window technique, we predict the expected number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds required for short (one week), mid (two weeks) and longer term (three weeks) time frames. We consider daily confirmed COVID-19 cases, current ICU, regular and special bed occupation, hospitalized cases, recovered and intubated patients and deaths. Results show that the models demonstrate very high coefficient of determination (R2) in the training phase, whilst providing accurate predictions in the forecasting phase. We report the weighted average output of ANN, XGBoost and Random Forest, which resulted in very low Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE). The accurate and timely prediction of ICU beds can support decision making for Healthcare Systems, optimizing deployment of resources, as needed. Our approach can be enhanced by incorporating non-clinical parameters, based on smart city infrastructures, such as data from smart sensors.

Written by Muhammad Azeem1, Shumaila Javaid2, Hamza Fahim2, and Nasir Saeed3

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, China, in 2019.  It has since been spreading across the entire world and affecting both people’s daily lives and the global economy. According to the latest report of the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 has infected more than 80 million people and has caused 1 million deaths around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed the vulnerability of current public health systems.

Written by Richard Fioravanti

Today, initiatives focused on incorporating smart city technologies are viewed as an essential goal for cities to help make the lives of their inhabitants easier. Incorporating these technologies leads to improved efficiency of its services, increased equity across its inhabitants, the ability to attract key businesses and high-paying jobs, and, finally, ensuring that a city is positioned to meet future challenges and continually improve its quality of life. Of course, the definition can be broad, and success in achieving smart city goals is not without challenges. However, as transportation electrification continues down its path of acceptance and mass adoption, new “use cases” from smart city technologies will need to be created to help with the seamless integration of the vehicles.

Written by Dalibor Dobrilovic, Francesco Flammini, Andrea Gaglione, and Daniel Tokody

Considering the recent advances of ICT technologies and the expansion of networked paradigms such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the design and rapid prototyping of scalable architectures in this context are becoming particularly relevant. IoT systems span over a multi-layered architecture, including devices, edge networks, and back-end IoT cloud platforms, which typically offer centralized storing and processing capabilities. The approach in designing IoT systems is gradually changing: processing tasks are moving closer to data sources and alternative design patterns - such as fog, edge, and mist computing - are emerging.

Written by Euclides Chuma

To facilitate the evolution of an ordinary city into a Smart City, sensors that monitor the greatest number of variables are needed in order to ensure that decision-making is performed in the best possible way and benefits the largest number of inhabitants. Monitoring a city requires thousands or even millions of sensors spreading over a Smart City. However, photonics technologies have recently emerged as a mean to enable the continuous monitoring of tens of kilometers of geographical coverage using a single device and a single optical fiber that has already been installed by telecommunications operators. This technology is known as Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) [1][2] and promises to revolutionize many aspects of Smart Cities, including vehicle traffic monitoring [3][4], train monitoring [5], subways, and even electric grid monitoring [6]. DAS technology was initially used for seismic monitoring, until when some enterprises, such as Future Photonics [7], took the opportunity to unlock the full potential in DAS to monitor the integrity of oil and gas pipelines and also to monitor oil wells [8].

Past Issues

To view archived articles, and issues, which deliver rich insight into the forces shaping the future of the smart cities, please visit the IEEE Smart Cities Resource Center.