In a recent interview, the CIO of Boston Jascha Franklin-Hodge said in regard to smart cities in an interview with Gov Tech
“We’re always a little wary of that term ‘smart cities’ in part because it tends to be so tech-focused and so often very vendor-driven,”
So what would a smart city actually look like and what would it do for the residents its serves? Cities across the US have begun moving essential services and information online and have installed free Wi-Fi for residents. But is that a true smart city or is there more? Should cities make more use of technology to improve the quality of life?
Shouldn’t transportation officials use technology to predict and alleviate traffic based on the data collected throughout the city? Should police department use artificial intelligence to help prevent crime? Should things like garbage disposal and clean up be automated?
Let’s not jump into a science fiction movie here, but there is technology that can do the things we asked. Using artificial intelligence for the police, using data from past crimes, to predict how to allocate resources. That is possible with today’s tech.
So many cities have cut the bureaucracy with fill out the paperwork and getting information from the agencies. That’s not smarter, it’s just quicker and more convenient and public Wi-Fi is just a nice perk. The hope is that smart city technology makes the life or a city resident better.
Imagine if bus stops could give you an eta for the bus you are waiting for. If traffic lights were coordinated in a way to reduce traffic and increase pedestrian safety. Cities agencies collect a lot data, but don’t fully utilize it to improve services.
Hopefully, as Cities across America deploy more technology solutions, they are fully utilizing the technology to its full potential.
As for the vendor-driven part, it is true that the IT manufacturers are pushing smart city solutions hard. As an IT reseller, we see it on our end. They are all competing to sell smart city solutions and are incentivising it. However, it’s up to the cities themselves to decide what technology they do or don’t buy.
If cities do increase the rate they are buying and deploying, tech companies will be foaming at the mouth. Hopefully, smart cities are centered around people and making their lives easier.