Issue 8: January 2014

WILL 2014 BE THE YEAR THAT CITIES BECOME EVEN SMARTER?

By Leanne Rinning, Head of Marketing, Storm ID

‘A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement’.

Will superfast broadband really have a transformative effect on the lives of citizens that its proponents believe and will the open data movement really transform the twenty-first century city in much the same way that electricity did years before?  

digital technologies will evolve and combine to make our cities “smarter” with major impact across transport, recycling, security and energy efficiency systems.

As you read this, many cities the world over are furiously investing in the necessary social and human capital and networked infrastructure in order to create the conditions for the “smart city”.

Smart Services

Western cities such as Barcelona, which controls 50% of its lighting power remotely, Toronto which is using game theory and artificial intelligence to teach traffic lights to adjust to traffic patterns in real time, to Rio de Janeiro which was recently voted the best “smart city” at the Smart City Expo World Congress are embracing the “Smart City” concept.

Arguably though it is in developing countries such as India and Tanzania in Africa, which are facing rapid urbanisation, that have the most to benefit from leveraging information and communications technology to improve the productivity, lifestyle and prosperity of their populations. Indeed given the forecasted pressure on services and infrastructure in these countries innovative solutions need to be found. 

Closer to home The City of Edinburgh Council’s recent announcement to offer free public Wi-Fi across the Lothian Bus and Tram network and proactively offering access to a number of datasets it holds via the Edinburgh Apps initiative are good examples of the city seeking to harness information and communication technologies to improve the lives of residents and visitors alike. 

At Storm ID, we believe that digital technologies will evolve and combine to make our cities “smarter” with major impact across transport, recycling, security and energy efficiency systems. We also believe that the eventual impact will be more transformative than any of us can possibly imagine.

it is generally the case in dealing with change in highly dynamic systems that the transition to the smart city will likely take longer and will happen in ways that cannot easily be anticipated.

However it is generally the case in dealing with change in highly dynamic systems that the transition to the smart city will likely take longer and will happen in ways that cannot easily be anticipated. Issues such as access to suitable skills and resources, political appetite and the privacy concerns of citizens will all influence the speed of this change. 

What is clear is that cities that are now building a rich and detailed information platform and supporting an ecosystem of developers to develop the services will be at an increasing advantage.

Storm are currently working with the City of Edinburgh Council to support them in the development of their own digital strategy which has been published online here http://ictanddigitalstrategy.org.uk/.

The first output of the strategy will be a new corporate web site which is due to launch in the spring of 2014. It will offer residents and businesses access to a range of informational and transactional digital services across mobile devices, desktop and internet connected TVs. This is just the start of a major programme of work which aims to capitalise on how digital services can deliver real benefits to the citizens, businesses and residents of Edinburgh and for a local agency that’s a genuinely exciting prospect.

Leanne Rinning is Head of Marketing for Storm ID



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Storm ID are a user experience and digital technology consultancy, developing multichannel digital services that transform how our clients do business.

For more information
www.stormid.com
@stormid
#WeAreStormID

By Leanne Rinning, Head of Marketing, Storm ID

Issue 8: January 2014

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