Today, more than 50% of the world population lives in cities, in 20 years, that figure will be 75%. Over that period of time, almost 2000 million people will be born in, or will move to live in cities, especially the larger cities in the developing world. There will be more than 500 cities with more than one million inhabitants. Giving a coherent response to this unprecedented challenge and opportunity has become the central issue, not only for urbanism, but for the economy, society and culture as a whole.
This exponential growth also means new challenges for city leaders. New levels of urbanisation bring unseen urban patterns which must be addressed with scare resources and shrinking city budgets. Technology emerges as a pivotal tool for enabling city stakeholders to drive transformation.
The transformation of cities
Public authorities are taking advantage of ICT technologies with the aim of reducing costs and improving public services. Smart technologies in particular can help address some of the challenges of mass urban development by contributing to optimising the use of resources and improving services through better management of supply and demand. Considerable effort has been made to turn our cities into smart cities, but much of this focuses on connecting cities by installing a large number of sensors, cameras and other devices.
Moving from silos to holistic approach
Most Smart City solutions are focused on resolving a specific issue such as traffic congestion, accessibility or healthcare, and hence implement related vertical solutions. However, what the city really needs is a solution engineered towards managing a large number of evolving smart services whilst enhancing its inhabitant’s quality of life. Accordingly, a good Smart City solution has to be part of a more integrated approach, able to process and analyse vertical data provided by various solutions and subsequently carry out cross analyses to simplify operator’s workload.