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5 Best Practices That Impact Smart City ICT

It is expected that 66% of the world’s population will live in urban centers by 20501, making it critical for governments and other stakeholders to put strategies in place to more effectively meet the needs of their growing populations. Intelligent ICT and IoT platforms have essential roles to play in the evolution of smart cities.

In response, many cities are looking to become:

Smart
Using technology to improve people’s quality of life, bolster innovation and social and economic development, and make cities more attractive places to live, visit and do business.

Safe
Preventing or minimizing the risks and impact of adverse events including crime, accidents, pollution and natural disasters.

Sustainable
Reducing the environmental impact of municipal operations, local business activities and people’s everyday lives.

While there is significant diversity in the strategies of different cities, recent research shows there are 3 distinct “routes” that cities are taking to make themselves smarter.

1. The anchor route involves a city deploying a single application to address a pressing problem such as traffic congestion, and then adding other applications over time.

2. The platform route involves building the underlying infrastructure needed to support a wide variety of smart applications and services.

3. Beta Cities, by contrast, try out multiple applications as pilots to see how they perform before making long-term deployment decisions.

A new study, “The Smart City Playbook: smart, safe, sustainable”, developed by Machina Research2 on behalf of Nokia, found significant differences between cities, even amongst those cities following the same route. It also concluded that there are 5 best practices used by successful smart cities that would appear to be of universal benefit.

Best Practice #1
Successful cities have established open and transparent rules for the use of data (on which all smart cities are dependent) by government departments and third parties, whether shared freely or monetized to cover data management costs.

Best Practice #2
Many cities that are advanced in their smart city journeys have committed to making both information and communications technology (ICT) and IoT infrastructure accessible to users both inside and outside of government, and have avoided the creation of silos between government departments.

Best Practice #3
Governments (and their third-party partners) that have worked to actively engage residents in smart city initiatives have been particularly effective, most notably those where the benefits are highly visible, such as smart lighting and smart parking.

Best Practice #4
Smart city infrastructure needs to be scalable so it can grow and evolve to meet future needs, and secure to provide certainty that both government and private data are protected.

Best Practice #5
Cities that select technology partners that can provide the innovation capacity, ability to invest, and real-world experience, along with technology platforms that are open to avoid vendor lock-in, will be at an advantage.

The study concluded that many cities are already leveraging these technologies to optimize services and infrastructure, make better-informed decisions, boost economic development, encourage social interactions and make their communities safer and eco-friendly while improving the delivery of a range of public services.

Jeremy Green, Principal Analyst at Machina Research and author of the Smart City Playbook, said: “No one said becoming a smart city would be easy. There are lots of choices to be made. The technology and the business models are evolving rapidly, so there are many degrees of uncertainty. Standards are emerging but are by no means finalized. So, there is no “royal road” to smartness. But there is a right way to travel: with your eyes open, with realistic expectations, and with a willingness to learn from others. That includes other cities that might face the same problems as you, even if in a different context. It includes the suppliers, who may have learned from their experiences elsewhere, including in other verticals. It includes start-ups, who can be great innovators; and most of all, it includes the city’s own inhabitants, who are your real partners for the journey.” n

Endnotes:
Cities profiled in the study include Auckland, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Bristol, Cape Town, Cleveland, Delhi, Dubai, Jeddah, Mexico City, New York City, Paris, Pune, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Vienna, and Wuxi.

For city-by-city findings and the complete set of smart city best practices and recommendations, read or download the full Machina Research playbook at nokia.ly/smartcityplaybook.

Sources:
1. “World Urbanization Prospects”, the United Nations, 2014 revision.
2. “The Smart City Playbook: smart, safe, sustainable”, Machina Research, November 2016. nokia.ly/smartcityplaybook

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About Author

Marc Jadoul is Market Development Director for the Internet of Things at Nokia. He has more than 20 years of experience in the ICT sector, and has worked closely together with the author of the Smart City Playbook. He is a passionate B2B storyteller, blogger, author/co-author of more than 150 papers, magazine articles and conference presentations, and is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events. For more information, please email marc.jadoul@nokia.com or visit www.nokia.com.

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