Interview: Driving economic growth in the smart city of tomorrow
How does a smart city best leverage IoT technology to drive economic growth, Internet of Business asks Vanja Subotic, director of product management at Chordant, part of InterDigtal?
Smart city technologies could drive more than 5 percent incremental growth and $ 20 trillion in additional economic benefits over the coming decade. That’s the bold claim made in a new report commissioned by mobile technology R&D specialist Interdigital on behalf of its Chordant smart cities-focused business, and produced in partnership with market research company ABI Research, Roles of Smart Cities for Economic Development.
Those are some pretty big numbers and presumably involved some fairly complex calculations in the background, so Internet of Business spoke to Vanja Subotic, director of product management at Chordant InterDigtal, to discuss some of the issues raised in the report.
What’s the connection?
Internet of Business [IoB]: Your report makes a strong argument that smart city development is important to the wider economic development of cities – but can you explain the connection?
Vanja Subotic: Smart city developments, which include improvements in mobility, infrastructure, established practices and the overall quality of life, are instrumental in attracting businesses and consequently citizens living in those cities and working for those business. It is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, where smart city technologies aid in economic development, but increased economic development requires more investments in smart cities.
IoB: And how will open data policies impact the development of smart cities?
Vanja Subotic: Open data policies enable public data sharing among different city departments and outside with individuals and businesses. This in turn allows stakeholders to better understand situations and trends, while solving various challenges. By bringing all data assets into one environment cities can open the door to innovation that will result in efficiencies and benefits to citizens.
Hoping it sticks
IoB: InterDigital has already said that this is not a case of deploying technology and ‘hoping it sticks’, but of city administrators making careful, strategic decisions. What do they need to consider in order to maximize their chances of success?
Vanja Subotic: Even in the technology realm, city administrators need to consider standards-based solutions to promote thriving ecosystems. Beyond that, there are other important factors to consider. City administrators will need to ask themselves what kind of cities they want to become and what the priority services and areas should be. This will require city stakeholders to think carefully about public-private partnerships, open data policies, citizen input and participation. This of course won’t be possible without a seamless procurement and execution process.
IoB: Are there any significant pitfalls that smart city administrators should look out for?
Vanja Subotic: Deploying technology isn’t always a simple process, so there are definitely pitfalls to be considered by smart city administrators. For example, not understanding existing governing structure, departments and data can hamper efforts, while struggling to secure funding and failing to apply a priority/phased approach can also significantly reduce the success of smart city projects. City administrators should also take into account working with legacy systems, the needs of citizens and properly ensuring an equitable approach across the socio-economic strata.
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