A collaborative approach to Smart City projects will breed success for the UK

News09 Oct 2018
Author: Chris Shaw Source: Business Leader
A collaborative approach to Smart City projects will breed success for the UK
It is reported that by 2040, 65% of the world’s population will be living in cities, and as cities throughout the globe prepare for this explosion in population numbers, Smart City technologies are rising to the challenge.

With the promise of delivering actionable data to help cities cope with the upsurge in demand for better services, the race to achieve true smart city status shouldn’t be considered a sprint, and as Business Leader reports ‘it is not necessarily the first adopters that will reap the greatest benefits.’

Tangible benefits

A number of cities throughout the globe have already rolled out their smart city projects, which means that they are already beginning to reap the benefits. India’s 100 Smart Cities’ goal is a notable example of how they’ve been able to use smart, integrated IoT solutions to tackle issues with traffic congestion.

Early adopters of smart city technology projects had a ‘build it and they will come’ approach. By saturating the city with industrial connectivity, sensors and data storage and analytics infrastructure on a large scale from the very beginning ensures that the foundations to support smart projects already exist, allowing organisations to innovate and develop applications that will immediately be able to deliver tangible operational benefits.

As the UK continues to develop and deploy our own Smart Cities projects, a combination of partnerships with academic institutes and ‘scalable, operationally aware and an efficient technical environments’ will help nurture innovation to help drive the most suitable applications, and deliver the soundest results.

Having access to academic institutes and R&D facilities in order to tackle the key issues faced by our Smart Cities teams, will ultimately allow them to undertake ‘well planned, credible, structured projects’ that utilise research to deliver smart cities projects that tackle the key issues faced by our population such as reduced congestion, reduced water and energy consumption and better waste management initiatives.

At this level, grants and government funding generally power these initiatives, and in order for them to become self-sufficient, with long-term commercial viability, they need to be taken beyond the pilot stage and adopted by commercial and industrial companies in order to deliver projects that will have a positive impact on the bottom line.

So, if UK smart cities are to deliver digital transformation as promised, how will it be achieved?

Strategic thinking and robust planning are reported as being the critical measures that city authorities will need to take to ensure success for UK smart city endeavours.

Whilst the promise of such digitalisation aims to realise ‘efficient living, better health and greater prosperity’ the UK needs to act now to adopt a better attitude towards strategy and planning in order to protect the growth of these initiatives as well as the health and wellbeing of our citizens.

A wider vision

In order for the UK to catch up with world leaders in smart city innovation, it is reported that we need to identify the ‘funding silos’ that exist in separate departments and bring them together in order to push smart cities projects forward.

Without a much needed collaborative approach and joined-up thinking to help bring together smart parking, traffic and waste management initiatives, progress will remain limited which means that is is ‘only the cities that have a centralised IoT funding mechanism to support collaboration that will make significant headway.’

Growth in UK market is expected, but at a much slower pace than our Asian counterparts, and with the Asian market already addressing these issues, time is of the essence for our UK smart cities teams.
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