The Four Essential Elements of the Smart City Revolution

For a good and high level perspective, I noticed 4 major elements to carefully manage in order to get a successful smart city ecosystem:

1 / Education

I think it is the most important thing. This is not only a business matter for lucrative market for big corporations and startup.

This is an ecosystem that will work with and by the citizens.

Education and awareness are the basic tools to create traction, understanding and initiatives. Canadian government are already doing a lot to emulate the ecosystem by creating the Smart City Challenge. This is only the first step of the Smart City. More people, engineers, association members, entrepreneurs and industries should participate more in workshops and Meetups. Impact on the job market is crucial. We have to prepare for the new resources to sustain the new market needs. We need coders, marketers, experts in infrastructure & system security and new partnerships. Companies such as IBM and Microsoft are already working on it but this will not replace the intelligence to integrate the city and the creative intelligence to develop new concepts. I will finalize this first point by what I consider the top priority: People. We need to get all the insights, experiences, needs, day to day challenges and make an intelligent analysis based on technology knowledge, social class, living area, commuting profile., etc. This will be a really rich and helpful information to create useful solution and support the traction and the engagement.

2 / An Agile Ecosystem

This is an Human Transformation with collateral damages: Technology will kill jobs but will create more jobs. No doubt about that. It means, this need to be anticipated to help people change their career in order to reduce the unemployment rate.

There is place for everyone in this new technology world and the startup and government have a huge role to play.

As a new Ecosystem, Social and human behaviour will evolve and will create a fragile and continuous changing environment. We have to develop a technology maturity and good level of integration to align with citizen needs and environment requirements. I think the profile of the future citizen will be definitely changed as he/she will be continuously interacting with a system, obviously keeping a high demand of tailored services. A big challenge for companies, city services and startups will be to create a stability in a real complex world with a higher competitive market. In such entropic environment, the citizen will have to be the winner.

3 / Data Management and Security

We are talking about a huge amount of data from consumers and producers. A hyper connected ecosystem, complex with a huge risk to manage a mess…

Boundaries seems unreachable and scalability issues will have to be addressed at the beginning (Intelligent homes, autonomous vehicles, traffic systems, transportations., etc). Storage, property, intelligence data management will depend on the channel used and from where and to who the data is addressed (Media & advertisement, Police department, Real Estate, City services, Private citizen data…). Solutions are already existing but I truly believe that we still are in the MVP level and we will face huge problem of scalability. It raises a very important question of data security: How to provide a sufficient level of security for storage and exchange of data? Some project such as Blockchain are in progress with some existing solutions (IOTA is one of the famous example).

An interesting study shows that specific data security requirements and solutions could be approached in a four-layer framework to make better decisions in security design and management. These elements are considered to be critical and require a close control: Smart Things, Smart Spaces, Smart Systems and Smart Citizens.

4 / Governance

My favorite element!

The city authority have to be well informed about all the problems related to smart things, spaces, services and citizen security;

“Research Centers” and “Local clusters” could be used as “Center of Excellence” and depending on a national central HQ. A top council covering a decentralized network with nodes which would represent big cities or a group of small cities. The aim of this governance would be to promote and nurture initiatives at national and local level and make sure to spread and coordinate global effort over the country with the government collaboration. This is already the case in the industries with lean six sigma methodologies. Topics covered by this type of extraordinary governance should be focused but not limited to security and privacy protection, network protocols, identity management, standardization, regulation, trusted architecture, voice of citizens and quality of life (such as stress level and others indicators).

It is essential to create an Agile and Integrative Council Organization.

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