Why Not Use Smartphones to Run Smart Cities?

According to research compiled by Statista, the number of the smartphone users worldwide will reach 2.08 billion this year.

The number of citizens glued to their smartphones and their social media accounts are increasing daily.

People are constantly using smartphones, smart watches, smart fitness gadgets and other devices that simplify our lives. However, this reliance has transformed into an addiction in which every moment spent without gadgets becomes unbearable.

Is our community really getting “smarter” by using apps and smart devices? Have we used this new technology to improve society?

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According to Cargliu and Nijkamp 2009: “People need to be able to use technology in order to benefit from it: this refers to the absorptive capacity literature.”

This concept has become one of the most important in the recent years at the policy arena. By merging the people, processes and technology (PPT) in one initiative, smart cities can be constructed in order to meet the citizens’ needs, provide a better quality of life and generate economic growth.

But in spite of the recognized need to use this technology on a municipal level, we’re still not sure what a “smart city” would look like.

So what is a smart city?

The Smart City Council defines a smart city as the one embeds digital technology into all city functions.

Although the availability of advanced ICT (information and communication technologies) is essential, that alone isn’t sufficient to create a smart city. A skilled, well-educated labor force is equally important, necessitating heavy investment into human capital.

This is essential because the main challenge of the smart city is to reduce costs and resource consumption by increasing quality and interactivity of urban services. Smart city technology for energy, health care, waste management, transport and traffic management, and government services has already been developed. Researchers are also developing technology that would support urban agriculture.

In relation to this, more companies are exploring new technological solutions and concepts for smart cities. IBM, Cisco Schneider Electric and Microsoft have taken a lead role in the commercialization of city intelligence.

It is worth noting that, according to the OECD, the global annual investment required for all infrastructure projects in the period between 2010 and 2030 will reach $1.8 trillion. The global smart cities market will grow from $411.31 billion in 2014 to $1,134.84 billion by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.5% during the period 2014–2019 according to Markets And Markets.

EU’s Action Plan

In order to prevent European cities from losing ground to global competitors, the EU has developed a number of programs like the “European e-Government Action Plan (2011-15) and the Malmö Ministerial Declaration on e-Government. These programs outline the importance of interactions between citizens and governments, how to improve public services and how to increase trust in public institutions.

Here comes Wise Town – start-up of the Italian software house TeamDev that enables you to handle the information coming from social networks or other information systems to manage the entire data flow as a single and homogeneous stream of information. The centralized information flows will allow you to filter the content, to record and route them to different output or procedures to third-party software.

wisetown systemThis system is based also on machine learning procedures, which can be added to categorized “live” information. The output of the system is manually reentered on maps powered by GIS technology (Geographic Information Systems). Through these maps, all the collected data are used to improve urban management and planning. This method allows citizens to see how the government is using this information.

Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, Keynes, Southampton are not the only smart cities that will be positioning themselves in the global market. More cities of future are going to be born in the regions of Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa, giving the great challenges to the industrial players and making our planet more globalized.

Marketing & International Communications Specialist
Marketer and international communications specialist at TeamDev s.r.l., with experience in assisting researches on agricultural markets and benchmark studies of precision farming systems; writing content for social networks, driving SEO tools and preparing pitches at the same time, co-founder of start-up project in Georgia.