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Smart Cities Will Need Smart Strategies & Technology

smart city

Cities are all about the people living in them. The infrastructure and face of municipal areas have always reflected changes within society. Since a couple years we are seeing a lot of influences on the lives of people through new technologies, the IoT and social media. Therefore cities will need to transform into “smart cities” in order to support our changing lifestyle.

Through the intelligent implementation of operational technologies, civic technologies, IoT, cloud technology and advanced data analytics cities will be able to profit from a huge variety of new opportunities. Modern smart city strategies offer the potential to understand the workings of a city at a level of unprecedented detail, provide new and innovative services to citizens and local businesses and change or nudge the collective behaviour of government workers, local business as well as residents to achieve broad social, environmental and financial outcomes.

This digital transformation is a complex process and will require sophisticated strategies based on comprehensive assessment of the current state of a city. IDC defines a smart city as a city-state, county, city, town, or other non-national government organisation that embraces data-driven urban transformation to meet social, financial and sustainability goals.

The impact of this shift towards digitalised municipal areas will be tremendous. As populations are growing and space in urban areas is limited the intelligent management of cities gains more and more importance. The connection of digital and real world will enable solutions that help us to solve transportation and parking challenges, increase safety, improve sustainability and support economic growth significantly.

In order to master this transformation it is critical for cities to identify room for improvement and create an analysis which supports a successful smart city strategy. It is necessary to investigate each and every city department and to classify them according to their current digital state and readiness. Only by this it is possible to assess the current state of a city and to identify challenges and opportunities. In order to simplify this process IDC developed the “IDC Smart City MaturityScape Stage”, which spreads across five different stages (see graphic below).

IDC's Smart City MaturityScape Stage Overview
IDC’s Smart City MaturityScape Stage Overview (source: IDC)

IDC further considers that there are five dimensions at each stage, which contribute to the ability to advance towards the next higher level. These identified success factors are vision, culture, process, technologies and data (learn more in the white paper “IDC MaturityScape: Smart Cities” here).

While technology plays a key role within smart cities the strategy used to realise such a modern urban area is heavily dependent on other factors as well. A successful strategy needs to consider human and capital resources, organisation culture, business and IT processes as well as data management.
Only if cities are able to integrate new skills and specialised employees they will be able to acquire the knowledge necessary to implement highly advanced technology.
In addition, the structure of city departments will need to adapt to the changes as data will have to be shared and used across multiple areas in order to unlock its full potential.

Another cornerstone during the strategy development will be the cooperation with organisations and technology leaders. Smart cities will be able to profit a lot from services like the ThingWorx IoT Platform which offer flexible, scalable and fast to market solutions in order to integrate technology and data infrastructure into a cityscape.
Solution providers like EBV are able to support smart city projects from first steps (e.g. intelligent LED street lighting) to advanced projects with hardware, consultancy and access to extensive third partner networks.

For cities it is critical to act as soon as possible and to develop a strategy that capitalises on new opportunities as mature smart cities will attract business investments, visitors, tourists and citizens. Download and read the IDC white paper IDC MaturityScape: Smart Cities here and feel free to contact EBV here for support with smart city technology and projects.