The main objective of smart cities around the world is to explore and implement innovative ideas. By embracing new and innovative technologies, smart cities provide more conducive living environments with increased economic efficiency in the use of energy and a reduction in carbon footprint. In Canada, for instance, Ontario is using the 5G rollout to drive change and transform the way locals live and work. With such high-speed internet, access to Canadian online casinos for those who enjoy gambling as a pastime activity is smoother than ever. The same goes for telecommuting and e-learning, as faster speeds make it easier to collaborate. However, while Ontario is doing a great job at adopting new technologies, other cities elsewhere are far much ahead in the race. Shanghai, for instance, emerged the winner of the 2020 The World Smart City Awards (WSCA), thanks to its 2016-2020 Smart City Plan. Shanghai’s city plan focuses on integration technology, City Brain, digital infrastructure construction, e-government, industry and environmental strategy. Other cities which are likely to scoop this award in 2021 and beyond are: Singapore With 8,000 people per square kilometre, Singapore is the second-most densely populated city-state in today’s world. The population is faced with a dwindling labour force as most of the population is ageing. In recent years, however, the word ‘smart city’ has become synonymous with ‘Singapore,’ and that’s why it has ranked first in some of the top smart city indexes. Singapore is really advanced in integrating technology in mobility, public safety and health care to improve the quality of life. Hong Kong, China With Siemen’s China as a development partner in the smart city project, Hong Kong is among the smart cities around the world. There are also multiple technology-driven government projects as part of a ‘Smart City Blueprint’. From digital wallets to electronic prescription systems and virtual banks, Hong Kong is a city to look out for. New York, USA New York’s projects in fair water management, air quality monitoring, free ultra-high-speed internet service and smart waste management are placing this highly populated city at the top. The city is also embracing vertical expansion through the construction of an underground park. London, United Kingdom Already ranking among the smartest cities in the world, London has been working on ‘Connected London’, a game-changing program to roll out 5G across to the entire city and introducing a requirement where new developments have to have full fibre-optic network coverage. There are also initiatives to provide Wi-Fi in streets and buildings. Streetlights also are being fitted with a collection of sensors and charging points for electric vehicles. Dubai, UAE Dubai is one of those cities that pushes the limits in every aspect of development. As a smart city, there are projects like Dubai Paperless Strategy and a monitoring system for bus drivers that have tremendously reduced traffic accidents that occur due to fatigue are just the tip of the iceberg for this innovative smart city. Home to the world’s largest 3D printed building, Dubai will definitely give other contestants a run for their money in the coming years. Barcelona, Spain One of the pioneers of smart city technology in Europe, Barcelona has one of the best technological infrastructures in the world. The city boasts advanced LED street lighting that doubles up to monitor traffic, pedestrian activity and air quality, as well as measures for smart waste disposal mechanisms, elaborate noise sensors to detect noise pollution, and the city’s bike-sharing system reduces the number of cars to mitigate congestion and control carbon emissions. Tokyo, Japan Tokyo is embracing smart technologies in many aspects of people’s lives. In farming, there are vertical microchip-controlled farms. With limited horizontal square footage, Tokyo is among the few cities that have shifted to vertical expansion to maximize space not only in farming but also in living spaces and other amenities. There are initiatives to keep energy consumption at a minimum and improve the renewable energy industry through solar floating projects, zero-emission vehicles and zero-emission buildings. The transportation system is punctual, hi-tech and safe. Helsinki, Finland Intending to be carbon-free by 2035, Helsinki has been ranking among the top smartest cities in the world. Three quarters of Helsinki’s hotel rooms have received environmentally friendly certification via a range of globally approved standards such as the Nordic Swan Eco label, the Green Key label and the Eco Compass certification. Most establishments have measures to manage food, water, cleaning, laundry, waste management and energy consumption smartly. Their open data policy is also a key accelerator of development in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. Copenhagen, Denmark The winner of the award in 2014, Copenhagen has embraced the use of smart tech to promote the quality of life by handling challenges in climate change and urban living. The city is determined to be fossil fuel-free by 2050. Teeming with start-ups everywhere, Copenhagen’s smart city investment opportunities are numerous. The city’s green ambitions and ready facilities provide a growth opportunity that may bring it back to the very top. A Smarter and Greener Future After the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, smart cities are going to be the other new normal. With the ever-growing population on the globe and more than half of it living in urban areas, smart cities will be the solution to sustainability on the planet. Of course, the models are not the same, and the priority areas differ from city to city, depending on citizen demands and needs. Big Data technologies are also pivotal in recognizing patterns and the need to better tailor solutions to specific cities.