IoT in urban environments brings in a number of benefits. A well-planned IoT implementation helps in managing and optimising traditional public services; increases transparency and promotes better civic response to citizens; stimulates the active participation of citizens in public affairs; and fosters the creation of new services—all of these without drying up the city council’s treasury.
Therefore, local and regional administrations keen on making their city smart keenly follow the developments taking place in the world of IoT. However, any successful implementation requires more than just rolling out a slew of technologies; it involves the public, private and civic bodies to participate in devising a common action plan for their city.
Below is a list of recommendations for implementing, optimising, and evaluating smart city initiatives for all stakeholders:
1.Vision: There term “Smart City” refers to computerisation in the public sphere, i.e IT convergence, digitalisation, connectivity, etc. A smart city is capable of reinventing itself with new standards for the welfare and wellbeing of its population. In IoT parlance, a Smart Cities project refers to the interconnection of key industry and service sectors, such as Smart Governance, Smart Mobility, Smart Utilities, Smart Buildings, and Smart Environment. Therefore, the vision for a Smart City should consider the prevailing social-economic conditions and civic readiness to arrive at the objectives for the Smart City model.
2.Technology Adoption: Creating a scalable, manageable and secured broadband and IoT infrastructure is the foundation for all communications requirements of any smart city. Apart from the above prerequisite, a Smart City project also requires allied technologies as enablers. To better appreciate the level of maturity of enabling technologies and their adoption, it is important to have a synoptic view of all services in terms of technical, infrastructural and administrative constraints.
3. Open Data Policy: Smart cities use public data and information from government and other sources to help solve civic problems and create new business opportunities. Defining the rights and privileges associated with collected data, data governance, and data usage assists in fostering transparency and providing value-added services.
4. Public-Private Initiatives: Categorising the “need to have” and “nice to have” applications (which will be delivered by public-private partnership) sets the parameters for incorporating smart requirements into publicly funded infrastructure programs and in areas such as mobility, healthcare, security, lighting, environment, energy, construction, and communications.
5. Cross-Domain Initiatives: Establishing the framework for a holistic approach across sectors and applications require expertise and standards that span many different sectors—from smart transport to smart buildings. This holistic and layered framework addresses the multiple needs of a smart city, leverages urban data to boost economic competitiveness, and builds effective solutions to many challenges.
6. Stimulate Ecosystems: Cultivating a collaborative culture with private partners plays a key role in developing the smart city eco system. Project developers, utilities companies, service providers, technology vendors, system integrators, and application developers collaborate through initiatives like city labs, developer contests, and application playgrounds to build the smart city. It would be beneficial to create a common network infrastructure and a secure IoT architecture that serves the needs of partners and the city council.
7. Milestones: Defining a framework with quantitative and qualitative indicators is important, and it must be customised for the city’s specific objectives. The evaluation should not only cover technical aspects, but also consider parameters like digital economic growth, sectoral sensitivity, accessibility of open data, digital service adoption, and more.
8. Education: A smart city project should reflect the inclusive, participatory, and social nature of its civic initiatives. Connecting with citizens and keeping them informed about progress through communications and social media is important for the success of any initiative. Through end-user education, field trials, surveys and open house sessions, the administration should reach out to the public.
9. Community Connect: It is important to make innovative companies collaborate with local communities on concepts, end-to-end prototypes, business models, and market trials. Although technologies such as broadband Internet and IoT are important building blocks of the government’s vision, the citizens’ acceptance and engagement will eventually determine success or failure of any smart city initiative.