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Smarter cities needed! How smart is yours?

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Ovum’s latest report issues a call for smarter cities. It also states that in the future the more smart they are, the more competitive they can be.

According to Ovum’s “Is your city smart enough?” report, cities should integrate information technologies in their infrastructures making them more sustainable and attractive for investment.

“The timing is right for cities to drive innovation in the next few decades for a number of reasons,” stated Research Director, Dr Steve Hodgkinson.

“Firstly, urbanisation trends compel cities to innovate and prosper – sustainability accommodating a further 2.9 billion people in cities during the next 40 years can’t be done unless we change the way they are built and operated.”

“Secondly, cities bring new energy and focus to e-government – cities are decisive, commercially focused, and by necessity citizen-centric. Intra-city competitive pressures on a global stage will only make them more so in the future.”

According to the report, digital strategies must be implemented in two ways; By Digital-City strategies, which implement government and authority related services, and by Digital-Society initiatives, which complement Digital-City strategies by providing digital structures to the citizens allowing them to create communities and to keep authorities in check.

Blogs are an example of a Digital-Society initiative.

“Together, formal Digital-City strategies and emergent Digital-Society initiatives offer the prospect of making cities more efficient and more livable even as they become more densely populated,” said Dr Hodgkinson.

One example given by Dr. Hodgkinson is Songdo, in South Korea, where Cisco is implementing IT systems and IP networks in the infrastructure connecting utilities, hospitals, schools, transport, homes and offices. Every home will feature a TelePresence unit allowing direct communication with municipal and authority services.

“Mayors and CEOs of municipal authorities should pay attention to leading Digital-City practices merging around the world and assess the opportunities to leverage new ideas and share proven solutions,” stated Dr Hodgkinson.

“They should also note that global platforms are empowering citizens to create vibrant Digital-Society initiatives of their own.”

Photo by Andreas Eldh

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