The futuristic city of dreams boasting self-sustainability, energy efficiency, and economic prosperity by ubiquitous connectivity presents tremendous opportunities and implications for government authorities, business organizations, and the urban population alike. Progressive cities are already responding to the challenges related to fiscal uncertainty, population growth, limited resources, and climate instability, among others. The Internet of Things (IoT) combined with rising adoption of connectivity technologies among consumers is driving the connected city movement forward and encourages government institutions to exercise smart city initiatives on larger a scale.
What IoT Means for the City
The global smart city market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by the year 2020 as governments and business organizations continue to increase their use of IoT technologies creating a demand for connectivity-driven technology marketplace. Successful connected city initiatives leading to economic and social prosperity present unprecedented business advantages for IoT service providers.
The proliferation of connectivity technologies has altered the consumer mindset in recent years. The tech-savvy urban population is more interested in information-driven connectivity, automation, and digital interactions. These technologies, however, are still far-fetched in less developed cities offering a more traditional lifestyle. The connectivity-driven urban lifestyle enables smart initiatives across three core areas urbanization: planning and management, infrastructure, and people. Here are three types of connected city initiatives:
- Smart planning and management involves connectivity and electronic service delivery across all administrative, public safety, development, planning, and operations.
- Smart infrastructure involves transforming the utility, transportation, and energy systems to enable efficiencies, resource conservation, and availability for the exploding population.
- The smart people initiative involves empowering urban citizens with electronic healthcare, education, and other social services.
These initiatives require a clear vision into enablement of true citizen engagement and a system of rapidly evolving connectivity services based on end-user feedback. Business organizations and government authorities need to strategically leverage IoT technologies, develop baseline targets and choose Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to further their smart city initiatives.
What IoT Means for Citizens
The expansion of the urban population is inevitable, and many developed cities are already overwhelmed as 54% of the global population resides in urban areas. Both the government institutions and citizens in the urban areas are expected to embrace all changes leading to economic and social prosperity as the intended outcome of true urbanization. The Internet of Things facilitates these changes by providing means to optimize utilization of limited resources and facilities while improving the living standards for everyone.
For citizens of connected cities, these developments mean convenience, efficiencies, affordability, security, and time savings realized from smart city programs. However, the increased inclination toward information-intensive programs presents severe implications for victims of cybercrime incidents. If government institutions fail to provide secure connectivity, they risk the privacy and security of individuals as it relates to health, finances, and social interactions, among others. Although defending against sophisticated cyber-attacks is not entirely possible for end-users of connectivity technologies on their own, following industry-proven best practices and designing programs with security and privacy in mind is critical to the successful adoption of smart initiatives.
Why Isn’t the Connected City Already Here?
The lack of consensus and industry standards on smart initiatives is causing uncertainty among government institutions who want to realize the promise of connected cities. Integrating connectivity initiatives across all new and existing urban development programs requires increased focus and investments to leverage IoT as a disruptive technology. Lastly, the IoT ecosystem is complex, and the technology continues to evolve further challenging the city governments even while they are expected to bring about the connected city of the future where people, data, and things are connected.