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Still a long road ahead for smart cities

In 2007, while working on a blueprint for the technical deployment of a smart city project in the middle east; the infrastructure was not so complex, we had thought of connected devices but the Internet of Things economy was in its absolute basic infancy so the development of applications was really just reduced to a control platform of data exhibits. In hindsight, we were limited in our vision for the city by the screens and devices we would have to deploy to get mobility incorporated and last mile connectivity ensured.

11 years hence, I am excited to be working on another huge project for a citywide deployment. Assessing the deployment in terms of readiness of the city technology base, its use in the creation of a suite of smart city applications and adoption by the residents; there seem to be a myriad possibility if only the right model for the right city be deployed.



The most significant barrier, however, seems to the sensorization of the city infrastructure. Something that was considered the easiest part of the execution strategy seems to have become a roadblock. The technology base comprises three components - the sensor; the communication protocol and the open data portal that will enable the applications.

Whereas Singapore, New York, Stockholm, and Seoul seem to the readiest cities in the world in terms of the components of the technology base required to roll out smart city applications; other cities have been left far behind.
The same gap reflects in the readiness of these cities to host smart applications relating to housing, healthcare, economic development, utilities, security and mobility and therefore in adoption parameters of awareness, satisfaction, and usage.
Unless the cities create the basic technology infrastructure to support the deployment of smart cities; we will see varying levels of transparency and advancement and therefore varying degrees of data to define the relationship between smart cities and smart governance and therefore transparency.



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