Issue 27 Articles

Arthur D Little logoSmart Population:
the Key to Enabling
a Smart City

InterComms discusses with Dr Karim Taga, Managing Director, Head of Global TIME practice at Arthur D Little, how key cities are taking a more proactive route with their populations to become smarter cities

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Q: Could we look at the global trends that are pushing the increased frenzy around Smart technology and what is a Smart City?
A: First of all we have to look at the factor that has driven the need for Smart Cities, the fact that 60% of the world’s population are now living in cities; this has been a massive migration.

This has a knock on effect causing problems in managing the day to day operations of a city in terms of resources, CO2 emissions, traffic growth, violence, sewerage and waste disposal, rising energy costs and budget control, etc.

We have to look at effective management in all areas of city life but the key, in most cases, is quality of life for the population and enabling the population to be proactive within their city. Cities are evolving within constraints of the global leaseholder level, competing to provide a high standard and quality of living. To attract commercial investment, to attract and provide, through education, a knowledgeable population, which then provides the budget to enable better services …

Q: With that in mind do you feel we are hyping the technological side of Smart Cities rather than concentrating on a more population centric view?
A: In some ways this is true, but a smart city is a sustainable city, this is realised by vision and strategy and by including academia, businesses and citizens. To put together ideas, that improve standard of living, commercial viability and high quality education.

Arthur D Little is helping many cities around the world handle multiple issues and simplify the structure needed to run existing services and provide new and future projects. To look at three cities in particular we are working with Vienna, Stockholm and Dubai. These cities are all facing different issues and are at different stages, with different goals of what they wish to accomplish.

If we start with Stockholm, it is already one of the most digital cities in the world, its ranking across the board in all surveys make it one of the best cities to live in, including our own mobility survey which ranks it at number 2 in the world. It also has one of the most diverse populations with over 150 different nationalities, the city is already smart so how could we help them evolve what they are already doing?

The whole purpose was to look at protecting the city’s standing, increasing simple effective services, such as digital themes of Smart society, Smart transportation, Smart environment, Smart education and Smart care. Stockholm wanted to make the population more pro-active about the city, to get innovative ideas that would help the city to keep its status but increase where possible the quality of living, and the population satisfaction with the city.

One example is a simple project that was deployed in the city, whereby any maintenance issue could be reported by the population to the authorities who would correct it, or work on it, within 24 hours. This is one way of putting responsibility and partnership between the citizen and the authority so both have responsibility for their living environment, leading to a Smart Society.

Q: Could we move on to talk about Vienna, one of the best quality of living cities in the world?
A: Not to split hairs, Vienna has the best quality of living of any city in the world, followed by Zurich and then Munich.

The challenge again for Vienna was to look at ways to keep consistently good services and improve them, whilst connecting with global talent, economic pressures, CO2 resources management, mobility and quality of life.

One challenge was to provide information for all forms of transport in the city so that the population could choose the quickest, cheapest or most environmentally friendly route from A to B, in an easy to use and up to date format.

By using one central Smart city platform, it allowed Vienna to incorporate everything centrally and then to split the e-horizontals as required: such as big data, transport, etc. which can all then interact.

Dubai was a different challenge, they wanted to become the smartest city in the world by 2017. The vision was very broad with respect to verticals and services with a vast amount of opportunities – also for Telco’s.

However there was no central enabling platform, leaving a major potential of “Smart business” untapped. Du, the national operator, built on the current dynamics in the Dubai Smart city environment and developed a sustainable Smart city strategy, this was achieved through a 4 step approach.

Firstly Du needed to look at stakeholder and market assessment, understanding and assessing all of the major Smart city stakeholders, the Telco benchmarks and best practice, market trends and competition analysis for 11 vertical segments.

Secondly, opportunity assessment, specification of opportunities and constraints from market analysis, development and evaluation of a business model and positioning options, then development and sizing of opportunities within and across vertical segments.

Thirdly Du prioritized and deployed (horizontal) services by looking at opportunities in services and use cases and evaluating business potential and overall attractiveness for Dubai.

This resulted in an actionable strategy for Dubai’s Smart City solutions and detailed operational implications; Dubai has now executed the strategy which is helping its internal transformation as a leading ICT.

So from start to finish ADL has the experience to guide, improve and future plan for Smart cities. In conclusion, every Mayor should be looking to learn from the best cities, engage their population, collaborate with business, plan through their engagement with the population, provide pilot projects and open data which will in turn will mean a successful execution of services.

The key as we see it is that by empowering the population to have responsibility for their city, you are providing a smart population which in turn provides a smarter city.

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