Gated communities have practically existed as long as communities have, but the rise of suburbs in the twentieth century redefined their purpose for the modern-day. As commercial and social activity seats became more disbanded, gated communities offered more than just a means for the fabulously rich to sequester themselves from everyone else. It allowed for the development of centralised hubs that provided community benefits without having to rely on existing public infrastructure.

This cellular design that emphasises self-sufficiency isn't always perfect. Still, it has created a model for community design that blends well with the current philosophies of smart cities — particularly the philosophy of a smart, sustainable future structured around networks of smaller smart cities or smart spaces.

What is a smart gated community?

Although they're rarely self-sufficient in their entirety, gated communities offer an essential blueprint for what a residential smaller smart city could look like. The ubiquitous gates that allow access in and out are a critical example of smart security for residential compounds. By employing smart access control that routes visitor calls to city operators and homeowners and allowing them to open the gate with a click, this presents an IoT solution that can scale to the needs of all citizens – without scaling in terms of cost. It also provides control over security management wherever they happen to be.

Other gated communities and traditional apartment complexes have taken to using smart irrigation systems for water management, smart metres for energy management, and data analytics that can be used to improve everything from security management to waste management. Many of these solutions and technologies are being adopted individually by different gated communities. Still, the smart gated community revolution is predicated on holistic solutions that integrate a complicated but accessible network of smart solutions together, creating a smart city infrastructure that's scaled specifically to the community's needs and the environment.

The benefits of smart gated communities for citizens

A smart gated community combines the advantages of living in a smart city with a definite sense of community and enhanced citizen experiences. The traditional gated community model brings physical security, exclusive residential access to amenities and facilities, and privatised services such as security and garbage disposal. And since those advantages are compartmentalised to the bubble of a smart gated community, residents have more control over their quality of life and the smart applications and devices they want to implement within the community than they would in a larger smart city. Strong citizen engagement can also help a smart gated community or any form of smart space thrive.

The benefits of smart gated communities for real estate developers

Adapting the smart city model to gated communities can also improve business for property managers, owners, and investors. The most significant advantage is how metres and other smart applications can improve efficiency. High-end gated communities often court citizens based on amenities like community utilities tied to a command and control centre

But you can better see how smaller smart city resources can be scaled to enormous, urban, and less exclusive communities. Residential compounds in major Indian cities are employing smart IoT applications that can offer monitoring for thousands of apartments at a time. Real estate developers will likely begin to make smart applications and devices more of a priority as they plan out new developments.

The role of IoT in smart gated communities

Good citizen engagement is critical to the success of any smart space or gated complex, and well-built, IoT-based smart applications are necessary for solid infrastructure. A successful smart city infrastructure will employ various IoT applications, ideally layered together with a unified operations centre. Here are some of the more common roles smart applications fill in improving efficiency, sustainability, and convenience for residents in a smaller smart city.

  • Smart security management can provide significantly greater insight into citizen and visitor movements, allowing personnel to control and track specific areas and see how long visitors remained on the premises through a smart city operations centre.
  • Smart energy management can evaluate inefficiencies in common spaces, provide detailed utility information to individual homeowners, and even offer perks to residents that employ energy sustainability practices that help build a smart, sustainable future.
  • Smart water management similarly uses IoT applications to set up irrigation practices focusing on sustainability. A smart city operations centre can even identify potential leaks before they become a serious issue.
  • Smart waste management is critical to a smart future. Examples include sensors that can read the fill level of trash bins and adjust pickup schedules accordingly from a unified operations centre.
  • Citizen engagement through smart mobile applications and web portals that homeowners can use to communicate with city operators, locate parking spots, receive community updates, request services, and track utility consumption levels.

The need for a unified operations centre

Each IoT device in a smart city offers critical information. But truly leveling that information means evaluating it in aggregate. Water, electricity, and gas consumption are often closely linked and can provide a far more nuanced view of a community's practices when used in conjunction with one another. Meanwhile, smart city managers can better streamline traffic flow when they have access to residential traffic patterns in addition to security patrols and waste pickup schedules. Making the most of all of this information requires the implementation of a centralised operations hub. Our Cervello Cities solution offers a unified approach to integrating devices, systems, and smart applications to log and analyse data. This layered approach to handling different data types makes it easy to identify a problem and pivot to solve it.

The future of smart gated communities

Conscious efforts to chart a path forward are helping us better understand what this will look like. Smart future solutions lower entry costs and increasingly allow real estate developers to offer otherwise unavailable services and amenities to a wider population. But the flexibility of projects should ensure a future where gated communities are available and affordable to everyone, offering spaces that help everyone work together to build a more promising future that is smart and sustainable in every sense.

Are you building a smart city? Connect with one of our IoT experts to discuss how we can help you manage your smart, sustainable city with Cervello Cities, our Smart City Operations Centre (SCOC).