The time is right for a different point of view on smart cities
As we saw this week at Smart City Expo World Congress, the Smart City movement is well underway.
In recent years, growing numbers of cities have deployed IoT applications to protect and preserve infrastructure and the environment, track city vehicle fleets, optimize traffic flows, manage smart parking, make public buildings more energy efficient and much more.
So, what’s next? A shift in strategy.
To date, the Smart City focus has been on applications that address isolated problems. The time is right to now turn toward creating a flexible, adaptive, intelligent platform for disruptive change – one that supports public value outcomes, sustainable business growth and deep community engagement. In other words, to take broader view of the promise of technology.
The next-generation capabilities of Nokia’s Future X Network for Industry make this city platform possible. The shift that takes place when the city becomes a platform will be profound.
The city as a platform
Taking a broader view of challenges and opportunities means looking at issues in a holistic way. Consider commuting, for example. While a single IoT application like smart parking may bring benefits, it won’t solve all the challenges of getting people where they need to go. There might be 10 other things that need to be done, combining technology, policy, governance, and programs like ride sharing, bike sharing and so on.
The Smart City platform can support this broader approach, especially if its infrastructure is shared among all stakeholders — every municipal agency and service as well as businesses and citizens. For example, poles installed for smart street lighting might also support public safety video surveillance, traffic monitoring and emergency response coordination. They could serve as small cells or 5G deployment points for next generation services (e.g. autonomous vehicles).
Sharing infrastructure can enrich the functionality of deployed assets while allowing cities to offset costs. It can also extend and improve the quality of vital services. Instead of expensive, centralized, resource-intensive mega hospitals, the city platform could support remote surgeries, wearable EKG monitors and more — disaggregating service delivery, making patient data available to providers in real time, and allowing more people to access higher-quality care closer to home. Private hospitals and corporate healthcare systems can also benefit from these models expanding their reach throughout the community.
New business models
Shared infrastructure invites co-development and cooperation among a diverse set of potential partners: city governments, technology providers, business and industry. All of these players can be part of an ecosystem that generates new solutions and supports their use and ongoing reinvention. New business models are emerging that make public private partnerships a reality.
With a new point of view on what smart cities can be, and do, and how partners can work together to make that vision real, the possibilities are virtually limitless. The next-generation connectivity platforms bring all those possibilities within reach.
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