Introductory book chapter on Smart Cities used for the short course on the subject at the JAI 2017 edition.
With the growth of the urban population, the infrastructural problems and limited resources of thousands of cities around the world affect negatively the lives of billions of people. Making cities smarter can help improving city services, decreasing social inequalities, and increasing the quality of life of their citizens. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a fundamental means to move towards smarter city environments. Using a software platform on top of which Smart City applications can be deployed facilitates the development and integration of such applications. However, there are, currently, significant technological and scientific challenges that must be faced by the ICT community before these platforms can be widely used. This chapter presents the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice in Smart Cities environments. We analyze various Smart City initiatives around the world and describe the most used technologies. We also describe a few Smart Cities platforms, which facilitate the development and integration of Smart City applications and services. Finally, we enumerate open research challenges and comment on our vision for the area in the future.