01 May Adshel and Smart Cities
Smart Cities are often seen as symbolising a new kind of technology-led urban utopia. In a time of continuous technological advancement a day doesn’t pass without an innovative new technology launching; usually unsolicited and declaring its power to change the world. From hand gesture driven drones to smart belts that use AI to make you healthier (really?), technology based products are creating endless solutions. The question is – are they solutions in search of a problem? Hold that thought.
Smart Cities is a fast growing phenomenon. Over the past 10 years urban technologies have been deployed in our cities, forming the backbone of Smart City ambitions. The global Smart City market is estimated to be valued at $1.6 trillion in 2020 and over 26 global cities are expected to be Smart Cities by 2025. To be a Smart City is now the goal of many great metropolises and smaller cities in Australia and around the world.
Whilst the Smart City momentum is exciting, there is an ever present danger that a desire to be smart can be interpreted as a need to quickly buy into high tech solutions. And while technology provides enormous opportunities to improve lives, technology solutions are only useful if they connect with an articulated purpose and integrate with the needs – both current and potential – of residents. Citizen happiness is central to smartness and so the key question that needs to be asked is ‘what problem are we trying to solve and for whom?’
Citizen engagement is one of a handful of key themes that make up the bedrock of a successful smart city;
- Smart City key drivers are consistent. The motivations to evolve as a Smart City are tied to the same factors: increasing population, aging infrastructure, technological advancement, citizen expectations, social inequality and environmental challenges.
- Collaboration is King. No one organisation or sector can build a Smart City. A well-structured ecosystem is essential and to succeed it must have collective purpose, leadership and commitment to investment.
- Open data is the enabler.All Smart City stakeholders must embrace a philosophical belief in open data and data sharing. A commitment to open data will grow when the benefits of data analytics and meaningful insights are seen and actioned.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.Five separate Wi-Fi schemes in one city is not necessarily ‘smart’. There are many great initiatives already in play. Embrace the idea of collaboration and share ideas and learnings. Universities and start-ups are a great place to start.
- ‘Why’ must precede ‘what’ and ‘how’.A focus on the needs of citizens must be the foundation for Smart City solutions. Citizen engagement is central to a Smart City plan. It must be consistent, continued and genuine.
Australia is an important member of the global Smart Cities ecosystem and there are many organisations working passionately to drive positive change through Smart City initiatives – from industry associations, strategic advisors, start-ups and universities to government, and private enterprise.
Technological advancements will continue to run at pace, they will impact our lives in new and different ways and they will leave wondering ‘what next?’ However, the city that delivers strategic urban solutions that make the lives of its citizens easier, safer and happier is the city with the smarts that matter.
Stay tuned for further announcements regarding our Smart Cities Value Proposition.