Lasting foundations

As we step into a new decade, smart city projects must shift from pilot to full-scale deployment.

The concept of a smart city promises to simplify and enhance many aspects of life in an urban environment. Yet this is no longer a new idea. Smart city projects have been under way for a decade or more in various locations around the world. Is this the decade when cities become truly smart?

Stu Higgins, head of smart cities and IoT at Cisco, believes all signs point to smart city projects starting to deliver on expectations. The thing that has changed, he says, is that “the technology is now delivering on the promise”.

He adds that city leadership teams have woken up to the idea of “frictionless cities”, which is “about removing hassle from everybody’s daily lives”. He explains that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work; every local government or local authority must evaluate which technologies will meaningfully improve the lives of their citizens. “It’s about how you can use the same underlying technology to deliver benefits for different groups of people. I don’t think there’s any killer application. It’s those small improvements that make the [city or town] a nicer place.”

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