Smart Cities Still Offer More Hope Than Reality

DZone 's Guide to

Smart Cities Still Offer More Hope Than Reality

Want to learn more about smart cities changing city management and infrastructure? Check out this post to learn more about the potential of smart cities.

· IoT Zone ·
Free Resource

I’ve written previously about the challenges smart city projects have faced in moving past the hype attached to them. For instance, a report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology revealed that the public was not yet sold on the benefits of smart city technologies.

The report said that there was a surprisingly low level of interest in the kind of technologies that we ordinarily associate with smart cities. For instance, just 8 percent of respondents believed being able to order a driverless vehicle via your phone was useful.

This was then followed by a report published by the University of Reading, which revealed that cities don’t really have a clear strategy for becoming smarter.

The study examined smart city initiatives in Bristol, Milton Keynes, Amsterdam and Taipei in some depth, whilst also exploring attempts by other cities to become "smart." It found that less than a quarter of the cities in the UK had any kind of smart city action plan — however, the few that did focus on opening up the data.

A Glimmer of Hope

It’s been roughly a year since that paper was published, so are things improving? A recent report from McKinsey suggests the picture is mixed. They believe that smart cities are still at the very start of their journey and that they’re entering a new phase.

The report examines the potential for a few dozen smart city applications, which are all already on the market, to improve city life in three sample cities of various sizes and starting points. They believe that these applications could have a range of benefits, including reducing fatalities by up to 10 percent, accelerate emergency response times by up to 35 percent, and reduce commute times by 20 percent.

“Our snapshot of deployment in 50 cities around the world shows that wealthier urban areas are generally transforming faster, although many have low public awareness and usage of the applications they have implemented,” the authors say.

Asian cities appear to be making the most progress, with a young population and rapid growth resulting in high adoption levels. This level of adoption is far from widespread, however, with many cities not having implemented the technologies that could have the biggest impact.

Making Progress

There are different levels of adoption, however, and as the earlier research showed, very different levels of preparedness, so what does McKinsey believe is the best way forward for cities?

They suggest that rather than tinkering at the edges, those cities can, instead, use technology to transform urban environments. To do this, it will require new thinking, such as combining smart technologies with planning and asset development so that the very nature of infrastructure is changed or embracing open systems to better support innovation and investment.

“Becoming a smart city is not a goal but a means to an end,” the authors say. “The entire point is to respond more effectively and dynamically to the needs and desires of residents.”

Overall, however, there is very little in the paper that acts to guide cities on what is largely an uncharted path, so there must exist considerable doubt as to whether it will do much to help those lagging behind to catch up with their adventurous peers in Asia.

connected devices, data, infrastructure, iot, smart cities

Published at DZone with permission of Adi Gaskell , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}