Tech solutions to urban problems
One of the key reasons for governments to promote Smart City is to address present and emerging issues facing urban liveability. Smart Cities should be about deploying technologies to solve real problems that matter to people. The challenge facing the…

One of the key reasons for governments to promote Smart City is to address present and emerging issues facing urban liveability. Smart Cities should be about deploying technologies to solve real problems that matter to people.

The challenge facing the governments everywhere is to come up with strategies to tackle the growth in urban population that is putting intense pressure on civic services.

Digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have been cited by many as the means to solve urban, social and environmental issues, including pollution, traffic, internet connectivity and conservation.

According to the Global Commission on Economy and Climate, an independent initiative supported by the former finance ministers and leading research institutions from Britain and six other countries, Smart Cities could spur economic growth, avoid the equivalent of India’s current greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and deliver cost savings amounting to $20 trillion by 2050.

It is forecast that with the continuous development of digital and IoT technologies, it is perhaps understandable that spending on IoT hardware will exceed $2.5 million per minute throughout 2016.

However, there are five key things that need to be considered, aside from initial investment, before pushing forward with Smart City plans.

It is important to consider that almost every city will have an established history and therefore its own set of distinct issues. This has to be taken note of when planning Smart City plans.

It is important to collaborate with people and institutions having subject expertise and develop a clear-cut policy on funding. Civic bodies could consider crowdfunding or corporate sponsorship in the initial stage of development.

Government should help develop workable standards for Internet of Things and Smart Cities. The IoT is proving fertile ground for new technologies and services, yet most are still locked in the world of machine-to-machine standards and platform silos.

It is important to think strategically about the enormous data that will get collected. Data should be part of the urban environment with local authorities making data sharing requirements as part of their procurement and development/planning permission procedures.

Experts say that Smart Cities should really be about deploying technologies to solve real problems that matter to people, not just deploying technology for collecting or analysing data for the sake of it.

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