With every passing day, we get to hear more and more cities getting smarter. Be it in the Western world, the Asian – South Asian countries, or in the Middle Eastern countries, cities are getting smarter with a technology makeover to doll up in the most efficient way.
Few years back, city councillors, mayors, and other city officials were concerned about how to tackle problems of urban governance like – burglaries, traffic, fires, health, parking, rental, animal care, and more. But thanks to cognitive technologies and IT enabled solutions, city life is now fully controllable. Whether it is finding an easy parking spot, or detecting smoke via alarms and saving lives from fire or inspecting high-risk restaurants to tracking stray animals and leading them to the shelters, IoT, ICT, big data led technologies have started the digital transformation era to usher the “Smart City” concept into reality.
Embrace the Digital Disruption
Although data governance is not a new concept among city officials, the usage of civic analytics in governance and urban planning has started gaining prominence recently. Credit goes to the technological advancements of the era. With the advancement in cloud computing, storing of data and information have dramatically lowered down. Similarly, analysis based on machine learning, artificial intelligence have helped city officials to speed up decisions. Also, IoT based sensors have started tracking information in phenomenal ways – be it gunshots, stray animals, traffic, or air pollution. When cities started taking smart initiatives, citizens too, have become city evangelists and work symbiotically with city officials to monitor and feed information using their smartphones and apps.
Cities in the age of the Citizen
Citizen engagement therefore becomes one of the key priorities for building up a smart city. As citizens become empowered and engage with governments, they demand more and more transparent and increased operational efficiency to experience better governance with respect to services. Like delivering unique customer experiences is key to survival for companies. Similarly, cities now need to be smart to deliver magical transformational citizen experiences, in the age of the citizen. In a recent report “Smart City 2.0: City as a Platform for Growth” my colleagues laid down the basic principles required to build a smart city and the technical foundational elements required to roll it out.
With connected vehicles and video triage systems, activated sensors, and IoT infused technologies, governments of various countries are investing on smart cities heavily. However, what may look rosy is not easy. Behind the scene of every successful smart city roll out, there lies an established, stable, and secured network, that is proficient to analyze the big volume of data and turn it into actions. Technology ombudsmen are required to infuse connectivity, collaboration, and creativity together to provide this unique citizen experience and superior governance.