The New Jersey-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a professional association of engineers, has taken up studies and research on Smart Cities.
Its Chairman is Gilles Betis, who is also heading Urban Life and Mobility at European Institute of Innovation and Technology Labs, which has recently changed its name brand to EIT Digital, explained why they had named Kansas City (Missouri), and Casablanca (Morocco), as new core cities for their studies.
Elaborating the selection criteria, he said in a published interview that both cities had presented comprehensive applications that established they had already taken major steps towards smarter, more efficient governance and infrastructure for all their citizens.
That included multi-stakeholder support for progress among the city government, the IEEE local chapter, local industries and local universities. Both cities had a clear plan for improving its citizens’ quality of life.
Yet another reason for their selection was geographic diversity as well as diverse challenges, he said.
Kansas City is the first core city selected from North America, where urban infrastructure needs rejuvenating and digital technologies can play a cost-effective role.
Casablanca has established a core city on the African continent, where cities are growing at a high rate, creating pockets of poverty.
To place these cities in context, Betis picked first core city Trento, Italy, which is a European city in a developed country with a relatively high standard of living. Its challenges are different from the other two original core cities – Guadalajara, Mexico, and Wuxi, China. This diversity was factored into the selection of Kansas City and Casablanca.
Commenting on the disparity in geography and challenges of these two cities that could shape the overall goals, Betis said Kansas City, for instance, already has a forward-looking communication infrastructure they can build on. The city also has a relatively high standard of living.
In contrast Casablanca will need to bring its diverse communities into the process of determining what affordable technologies can address their challenges – not unlike other North African cities.
One of the initiative’s goals is to establish that cities with different histories, cultures, resources and different points of departure can develop their own solutions and share that knowledge.
Sharing that knowledge will take two basic forms, he told Energy Central in the interview.
One is sharing solutions with affiliated cities in geographic proximity to the core city. The other educational mechanism is to develop and share best practices for specific problems that might occur anywhere in the world.
He said IEEE Standards Association has introduced a number of standards to help improve secure connectivity and communications in urban areas.
The next step is to hold kickoff meetings with each city’s stakeholders. The cities will present their step-by-step plans for the next two years and create multi-disciplinary working groups to determine how best to achieve those plans.
For IEEE’s core acceptance as a ‘core city’ an applicant must demonstrate strong, multi-stakeholder support for the Smart City Initiative process.
They should have demonstrable motivation and commitment from a diverse set of stakeholders, including government, industry, higher education, citizens and the local IEEE chapter.
IEEE will use metrics and key performance indicators to measure Smart City progress. Return-on-investment (ROI) is a perennial measure of success. It will make sociological measurements that are not based on sensor data.
IEEE is developing metrics that would measure technology for the benefit of humanity with an emphasis on the latter, he said.