In the quest for the more efficient use of our resources; most environmentally conscious citizens are willing to make the small changes necessary to promote the creation of smart cities. To fully realize this evolution and reap the benefits, however, it takes more than just a different mindset. It also requires information and communication technologies.
There is also the very real challenge for the collective community of governments, private industry, non-government organizations and other stakeholders to agree on the best approach to the smart city vision that will not only meet their needs, but also adhere to local values. Finding the right solution that meets all requirements is a challenge, but not one that is insurmountable. It simply demands a focus on priorities and healthy compromise.
To better understand many of the elements that contribute to or take away from the development of smart cities, Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) and its Market and Consumer Insight team set out to explore the concept. In its white paper, The Missing Piece: Voice of Smart City Citizens, the team explores key questions to determine that while the critical element is partnership, traditional partnerships between the public and private sectors are not yet ready or fully equipped to execute on the initiative of the smart city. A third player is an absolute: the citizen. They also investigate how dynamic communications as part of a smart grid deployment can plan a key role in moving things along.
The “Smart” in Smart Cities
The technology integrated into the smart city is what makes it unique, yet it is not the only element that makes it smart. The smart city concept is supported fully by the framework, or a way to fulfill a vision of urban development in the modern age. This vision will vary from place to place, yet the “smart” in smart cities will enhance everything from democracy to education to healthcare to the economy and even environmental stability. These enhancements must not only focus on moving the city forward, but also in preserving its collective values and norms.
Based on Alcatel-Lucent research, the motivation to ‘go smart’ is generally a motivation of social, environmental or economic elements, often in some combination. Cities may want to bolster their economy; others may have the environment at top of mind; and still others may have their sights set on societal goals.Ultimately, regardless of the motivation to achieve the smart city, each community focused on the goal tends to have some form of a public-private partnership in place made up of a complex ecosystem of key players, including:
- Service providers
- Engineering procurement companies
- Enterprises in key verticals
- City planners
- Real estate developers
- Nongovernmental organizations
Source (News - Alert): Alcatel-Lucent
The Four Boxes
According to Alcatel-Lucent, projects for smart cities can be broken down into four categories or boxes:
- The IT box includes cities that focus on achieving IT excellence
- The dream box involves cities that take on turnkey smart city projects that make up their wide-range plans
- The fragmented box includes cities where a variety of projects are being carried out independently without clear integration
- The black box where projects are led and managed by governments within a closed ecosystem. For a city to select the right box, they must first examine their citizens
The Citizen’s VoiceThe citizen makes up the critical missing piece in the development of smart cities as they are the ones who will live and work within the environment. Without a focus on how people live, work and play in the city, the application of features and amenities may not match and therefore, will deliver very little practical value.
As planners, analysts, IT companies and other experts continue to define the smart city as it relates to the infrastructure, wireless and Wi-Fi connectivity, the cloud, high-speed broadband, remote capabilities and more, there must be a clear tie in to how citizens live in that environment. End-to-end smart grids provided by the power companies can be a critical part of the solution, especially since citizens tend to want innovation and creativity, but only as far as it contributes to supporting their way of life and enhancing those things they already do and love.
Edited by Peter Bernstein