The accelerating evolution of Internet-age smart cities is an important trend that should be on the radar of executives at all levels of government. Why? Because when researchers look back at the end of the “urban century,” they will likely see that cities built on ubiquitous and agile information technology platforms out-performed, in terms of innovation, those that were not. Executives asleep to the “big picture” threats and opportunities of smart cities risk condemning their cities to the backstreets of the networked global economy.
The beauty of smart cities is, as yet, largely in the eye of the beholder
The smart city movement is picking up momentum rapidly. “Smart” means using networked systems, online services, sensors, and realtime data analytics to make cities more efficient and sustainable. Smart city systems, for example, aim to reduce energy and water consumption, smooth traffic congestion, cut crime, and make healthcare and education services more affordable. IBM claims several thousand projects have been implemented under its Smarter Cities program. Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities solutions are being used by a growing list of cities to plan and execute smart city strategies. Leading examples include: Chongquing in China; Guayaquil in Ecuador; greenfield cities in the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor in India; Nusajaya in Malaysia’s Iskandar special economic zone; Songdo in South Korea; and Skolkovo in Russia.