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Pillars to Developing A New Generation of Smarter Cities

Urban Development

Smart Cities Phase 1

The first phase of smart cities initiatives, aka Smart Cities 1.0, focused on cities working with their technology partners to develop pilot programs to test solutions that address specific problems and understand a solution’s benefits. The purpose was to develop a deeper understanding of technology trends and the concept of an integrated “system of systems.” Pilot programs also gave cities valuable insights on the importance of seamless integration of technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) – embedded with sensors – into city systems for improving controls; operational efficiencies and customer service. The goal there was to develop meaningful strategies and use cases for building a truly analyzable, scalable, shareable, sustainable and secure city-wide infrastructure. During this first phase, cities also learned that smarter solutions and infrastructure would need smarter people to apply their common sense to utilize the advanced analytics that could enable individuals and city leaders to make better decisions. This leads to Smart Cities 2.0, which is the next phase of this evolution for realizing the vision of Smart Cities.

Smart Cities Phase 2

Smart Cities 2.0 is more a citizen-centric, socio-economic, urban development endeavor to improve a city’s livability standards by actively engaging its communities. Fulfilling the objectives of Smart Cities 2.0 requires concrete policies for local solutions that integrate green concepts ranging from smart transportation systems to waste-water treatment and solid waste management systems into the planning process. It involves creating meaningful use cases and justifiable, real business cases based on lessons learned from the various pilots for Smart Cities 1.0, while creating an environment where everyone can participate and benefit from the improved processes and delivery of public services. This requires compassionate planning for bridging the digital divide and making every citizen more tech savvy. It’s critical to empower citizens with the information and knowledge they need to utilize the enhanced services offered by a digital city. In addition, a flexible regulatory environment that’s responsive to stakeholder needs is also vital.

Different Strategies

Developing a new generation of smarter cites requires having multiple strategies that feed on one another in a coordinated manner and add value to the overall endeavor. One of the key objectives of this next phase is to improve collaboration with citizens; to tap into their knowledge base to let them generate solutions for their local problems and share ideas with city leaders. It’s evident that no “one size fits all” solution exists for tackling problems that cities face. The only thing that is relevant is the adoption of best practices that can shorten the time it takes for implementing solutions.

The second key objective is to achieve real sustainability when tackling difficult energy and environment-related issues. Sustainability and resilience must be achieved by incorporating green infrastructure solutions. They should be woven into the fabric of smart, sustainable cities at the planning stage.

K.S.Ram Mohan is a Systems Architect within Verizon’s Products & New Business Innovation organization. He is also the Principal Architect supporting the Public Sector vertical on IoT and Smart Cities initiatives.

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