Digital intelligence is driving the transformation in cities. The ability to connect multiple applications to deliver real-time or near real-time, transparent information allows for better choices. Technology is being injected more directly into the lives of the resident through personal smartphones that can provide instant information to enable the countless decisions to be smarter.
It is the very nature of the Industry 4.0 focus that drives the changes underway in cities. The technology has gone well beyond handy tools; it is recognized as digital solutions born out of the technology revolutions going on. Solving complex city problems and managing infrastructure systems enables cities to cope with significant burdens on their infrastructure and the constant influx of more people moving into urban areas. Cities are responding to the unprecedented pressures on their societies and economies by learning how to change how they have been working to become smarter.
City planners are no different from those engaged in the industry.
They are learning how to adapt, embrace and redesign cities into Smart Cities, where data and digital technology are being put to work to improve the physical assets and well-being of its residents. The appreciation and value of technology needs to be applied and put to effective use. There is this need to combine data, digital and design to enhance all city residents’ experiences and aid city decision-making. The technology is connecting infrastructure intending to provide a higher quality of life to its citizens.
The public sector is equally important to the Digital Economy in shaping and transforming performance. The world of business is combining and forming partnerships increasingly with the public sector.
Each of our cities must look at their solutions independently.
Cities can learn about the values and advantages of technology, but their application is unique for each city. There is a need to adopt much of the business worlds parlance. A city must be highly responsive; it needs to be agile, fluid and make multiple decisions constantly. It needs to build a clear digital roadmap. It needs to think through its own business model to form an overarching strategy and vision. A city must recognize that it will have to go through different phases of a development process to learn how digital applications and solutions can be put to use. It will need to select projects and chose solutions that commit public spending to even more rigorous examination and justification. The engagement of its citizenry becomes paramount. Elected officials need to communicate the “why, how, what, where and when”.
Cities can learn about the values and advantages of technology, but their application is unique for each city.
The critical aspects of engagement in change within cities come from the social contract. Citizens want to understand quality-of-life dimensions. These are based on seven critical ones of 1) time and convenience 2) safety 3) health 4) environmental quality 5) cost of living changes 6) jobs gained and lost and lastly, 7) social connectedness and civic participation to become engaged.
Smart solutions may solve the problem, but they often do not tell the story citizens want to hear. There is so much talk on disruptions, on technology or the need for smartness to do part of the job. Citizens want to hear about sustainability, about improvements in the environment’s quality, in city-wide connectivity, in security and effective transportation.
To believe somewhere or something is smart, we need to deliver the interoperability, where any sharing has mutual exchange and value. The recognition that any transformation of their city has to be a growing, sometimes uncomfortable partnership between the public and private partnerships. We need to engage citizens within the process of discovery, learning and understanding, so future decisions “account” for all parties looking for better solutions in Smart Cities.
People are at the very center.
People are at the center of everything within a city and it is the use and application of technology that can unite the city on any journey. The recognition of a digital thread allows all involved to engage and connect. The need for any city intent on this transformation journey is the value of having a platform approach to managing all the aspects of data and allowing all to be actively involved.
Here is another lesson that can be extracted from the 4th Industrial Revolution taking place; the recognition of managing the complete ecosystem through digitally-enabled platforms has become increasingly the most effective way to manage any forms of complexity. And certainly, a city is one of the most complex ecosystems designed by the human. The digital thread running through a city gives it the intelligence to perform.