Smart cities has been a hot topic for governments around the world for several years as climate concerns, rising urbanization trends and increasingly technology-savvy citizens is driving demand for connected and sustainable cities. The race to build smart cities will only intensify as competitive pressures build up amongst cities to attract the best talent and investment, says Dr Steve Hodgkinson, research director for Ovum, the analyst and consulting company.
Dr Hodgkinson, based in Melbourne, Australia, was speaking to press from around the Asia Pacific region over TelePresence and WebEx about a new report which he authored: “Is your city smart enough?”. The report cements the role of ICT as an important factor in designing, building and operating smart cities sustainably.
Dr Hodgkinson points out the playing field is level in terms of ICT for all cities as the technology building blocks are becoming increasingly globalized and commoditized. Cloud computing, in particularly, will be an important technology as it provides cities with shared global technology and solution platforms.
The report also highlights the importance of greenfield cities such as Songdo in Incheon, Korea, as urban laboratories for how ICT can be integrated seamlessly into a city.
Dr Hodgkinson provides recommendations to both city leaders as well as the ecosystem of real estate developers and technology vendors and urges them to recognize that formal “Digital-City” strategies need to develop alongside emergent “Digital-Society” initiatives. The combination of the two will ultimately determine how “smart” the city becomes.