Every city has its own needs, based in part on the region and country where it is located. Here are the main components to consider before adding smart city technology.
The urban population is growing, with nearly two-thirds of Americans and 54 percent of the world currently living in cities. As this number increases, with the World Health Organization predicting that by 2050, 75 percent of the people on the planet will be urban dwellers, it’s even more important that cities become smart and use technology to improve the lives of citizens.
For any city seeking to become smarter, there are five major components that must be resolved before moving forward. If any of these steps are skipped, or done out of order, such as acquiring financing before creating a roadmap plan, or compiling existing resources before talking to stakeholders, it could result in unnecessary work, or duplicating services.
1. Plan what “smart” means for your city
Not every city will have the same goals and needs when becoming a smart city. The technologies a smart city needs vary based on the region and the country. Implementing technology simply because it exists isn’t enough.
For instance, air quality sensors are essential in densely populated urban areas, but not every city is confronted with the same issue. In Pittsburgh, Pa., the focus is on clean energy and air quality, but in Washington, D.C., improving public transportation is key, according to Archana Vemulapalli, chief technical officer for Washington, D.C., speaking at a Smart Cities Week event in late September.
It’s not just air quality and transportation issues. As previously reported by TechRepublic, in Chicago, the city is controlling the rodent population by using predictive analytics to determine which trash dumpsters are most likely to be full and attract more rats. In San Francisco, an app allows smartphone users to find available parking spots in garages throughout the city.
Implementing the technology that’s most useful is one of the biggest challenges of becoming a smart city, said David Graham, deputy chief operating officer for Neighborhood Services for the City of San Diego.
“Smart for a city like Copenhagen [Denmark] will be very different than a city like Louisville. Back in the late 2000s, Copenhagen said, ‘We’re going to be carbon neutral in 10 years.’ For them the smart agenda was really driven around energy efficiency and clean technology,” explained Arvind Satyam, managing director of business development for smart and connected communities at Cisco.
In Dubai, smart meant providing citizens better access to services such as traffic, parking, and security, Satyam said.
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