Supercharging the Smart City with AI-Enhanced Edge Computing

The integration of AI-enhanced edge computing in smart cities revolutionizes urban management, optimizing resource allocation, enhancing security, promoting sustainability, and fostering citizen engagement. That ultimately leads to a higher quality of life for residents.

Supercharging the Smart City with AI-Enhanced Edge Computing
(Credit: Tuomas Lehtinen / Alamy Stock Photo)

A smart city utilizes information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the efficiency of urban services, optimize resource use, and improve the overall quality of life for its residents. This involves data captured by sensors, automated processes, and data analytics, all converging to help city officials make better decisions for sustainable and intelligent urban development.

Smart cities aim to address challenges related to transportation, energy, healthcare, and other key aspects of urban living through innovative technological solutions. Smart city tech also offers people-centric solutions such as improved communications in the event of an emergency or to facilitate conversations with government or utility representatives.

AI-enhanced edge computing makes cities even smarter

As smart city capabilities continue to evolve, large amounts of data are generated by end users. You might envision a smart energy grid with thousands of embedded sensors to measure power metrics. Efficiently collecting, analyzing, and putting all this data to use can be demanding, to say the least.

Edge computing solves this problem. By capturing and processing end-user data, edge technology enables adjustments to occur with dramatically reduced latency. Instead of making the long trip to a data center or cloud, compute happens near the data source. This means city administrators get optimized, actionable insights in real time.

Now, AI-enhanced edge capabilities have raised the bar even higher for decision-making speed, efficiency, and autonomy. Not only is the data analyzed with reduced latency, but follow-up actions can occur automatically, guided by AI processes running directly on connected devices at the network edge.

What can AI-enhanced edge computing actually look like in a smart city? Let’s highlight some examples of intelligent city applications that are being used now or will be available in the near future.


  • Traffic management systems: Sensors and video cameras can track and respond to real-time traffic patterns with AI-enhanced edge systems, automatically rerouting vehicles away from heavy congestion, road repair, or accidents. Fire trucks and ambulances also arrive faster, potentially saving lives.

  • Smart parking solutions: Vehicles can be diverted automatically to areas where ample parking is available. Less idling and circling means better air quality for residents.

  • Public transportation system: By tracking passenger flow and volume, buses, and trains can be added or removed in short- and long-term time frames to match demand. People can get where they need to go faster, while the city can save money at times when demand drops.


  • Smart grids: AI-equipped sensors and edge servers optimize energy output, distribution, and storage. This saves energy and avoids outages.

  • Energy-efficient street lighting: Lights turn on only when and where they are needed, guided by light sensors. Lights last longer, and energy costs drop.

  • Smart water meters: Provides accurate data on water usage at the edge in real time to understand usage patterns and save water.

  • Flood monitoring systems: Water levels monitored 24/7 with alerts going out to emergency task forces without delay can result in better citizen protection.

  • Air quality sensors: Continuous monitoring enables air quality warnings to be faster and more accurate. This can lead to lower asthma rates and reduced healthcare costs.

  • Green infrastructure: Natural and semi-natural green spaces leverage edge computing-controlled water management to protect, restore, or mimic natural water cycles to protect the environment.

  • Building energy optimization: Real-time data collection and analysis provides managers with the ability to automatically divert energy to meet needs-based consumption for more efficient buildings.

  • Waste management: Optimized collection and recycling routes, all monitored and controlled with automated solutions. Smart bins alert only when full to avoid extra truck stops.


  • Computer vision: Cameras monitor for anything from traffic violations to more serious crimes to make neighborhoods safer and law enforcement response faster.

  • Emergency response systems: Emergency calls, fleet management, and incident tracking all integrate with emergency services at the edge for rapid crisis response.

  • Law enforcement: Modern AI-enhanced edge systems can track areas of high crime rates and optimize police resources to make the streets safer.

Citizen Engagement

  • Smartphone apps: Traffic assistance, wayfinding, utility outage notification, and event planning can all be enhanced with AI and edge computing. Map apps can allow people to send location-based complaints for easy government official follow-up.

  • Open data platforms: City planning, job creation, and modernized education and healthcare systems can all benefit from open data initiatives. By pinpointing inefficiencies and inequalities, essential services and facilities are improved.

City Planning

  • Digital Twin: Digital twins are digital models of a city's terrain, buildings, and infrastructure. A digital twin can simulate parameters like jobs, deliveries, traffic, and pollution. This enables a real-time understanding of a city and can be used to preview the potential impact of new policies or infrastructure projects.

The human face underlying the technology

In the smart city, residents are happier because they live in a sustainable environment where everything simply works better. City managers are thrilled as well since urban administration efforts are more efficient and cost effective. And work gets done faster in an automated fashion thanks to AI-enhanced edge solutions. 

People will choose to live where there’s a better quality of life. They want less traffic, less pollution, more security, and cheaper energy. They want their city to be smarter. And AI at the edge makes that possible now.

Carrie Tuttle is Senior Product Marketing Manager of PowerEdge at Dell Technologies.

Learn more about what Edge Computing can do for your organization – and your city.

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About the Author(s)

Carrie Tuttle, Senior Product Marketing Manager of PowerEdge, Dell Technologies

Carrie is a seasoned marketing leader with more than 20 years of strategic marketing experience in the technology sector. As a Senior Product Marketing Manager, she leads go-to-market and lifecycle marketing strategies for PowerEdge servers, drawing upon her extensive background in hardware and software. Prior to her tenure at Dell Technologies, Carrie distinguished herself by delivering successful product marketing strategies for SaaS solutions that consistently increased customer engagement, grew market share and drove revenue. She earned an MBA from The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and a BA from Middlebury College. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, cooking and spoiling her dog.

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