How to Prepare for (and Take Advantage of) Smart Cities?
A smart guide to adapting your business for the digital cities of the present and future.
What is a smart city?
Almost two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050. Cities aren’t just getting bigger, they are also becoming smarter thanks to an integration of digital telecommunications technology and future-thinking business initiatives.
A smart city improves the lives of its citizens by using the latest technology to optimize all aspects of city planning, services and business innovation. Cleaner air, lighter traffic, accessibility, efficient waste management and crime-reduction are only a few of the potential benefits that a digitized city can provide.
You can explore some of the planet’s most technologically-advanced urban centers by checking out our previous article: The Top 5 Smart Cities of the World. In this article, we’ll examine how your company can succeed while smart cities shape the business practices of the future.
Smart City Priorities
Smart city development presents a wide range of opportunities and challenges. Let’s begin with the 4 pillars of a smart city ecosystem:
Urban progress can only be considered smart if it is designed to be inclusive for all city residents.
Whether it’s public healthcare, disaster planning, security, or business development and employment, the socio-economic well-being of a city largely depends on who is included or excluded from life-improving opportunities and services.
Bridging technological efficiency with social inclusion not only provides better and more accessible city services to all, but also establishes more profitable business projects.
As cities require a seamless flow of goods, people and services, no city is fully functional without the mobility provided by a flexible transportation system.
Real-time vehicle interaction monitoring and public transport tracking sensors can help smart city administrators better understand why and how citizens use the city’s transport infrastructure. This can contribute to further developing dynamic transport models and networks that are profitable for businesses, convenient for users and efficient for the city’s management.
A crucial part of the digital transformation of cities is the process of finding sustainable solutions to the ongoing environmental risks and challenges posed by climate change and rapid urbanization.
Big Data, The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors will allow the cities of the future to reduce greenhouse emissions, avoid resource depletion, establish smart waste-management systems, and drive down energy costs. They will also help us manage energy consumption and conservation more efficiently.
Another key strategy of any smart city is the use of technology to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing between citizens, local governments and businesses.
Whether it’s through social media, web-portals, or smart city apps – by instantly connecting city stakeholders with real-time and data-driven solutions and services, digital technologies can foster business innovation as well as significantly improve the city’s overall quality of life with smarter management.
How to Prepare for Success in Smart City Business
In this section, we will present 6 key steps to take in order to be part of a smart city ecosystem and to avoid potential risks and challenges.
1. Embrace Digital Transformation
The smart city is a product of digital transformation which is basically a reinvention of business practices and culture for the digital era.
By replacing, modifying or upgrading manual, pre-digital processes and services with faster, cheaper and better digital management, your company can reduce operational costs, focus time and resources on core values, improve customer experiences and adapt to changing client and market requirements in real-time. However, digital transformation is not simple, and needs to be properly planned. We’ve written an article exploring its challenges in more detail.
The slow analog ways of the past will have no competitive value within a new smart city ecosystem.
2. Adapt to 5G Connectivity
The fifth generation of cellular wireless communications, or 5G, is important because as far as mobile networking goes, the technology is a game-changer.
A 5G network will be able to provide unprecedented internet connection speeds to approximately 1 million connected devices per square kilometer. (Our current 4G networks can handle about 100,000 connected devices per square kilometer, with much lower speeds).
The faster data collection and processing enabled by 5G will essentially power the smart cities of the near future and allow businesses to benefit from valuable insights provided by machine learning and advanced data analytics.
3. Get Ready for the Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT is quite simply an ever-growing network of smart, interconnected devices that are able to collect and distribute data over the Internet.
From wearable fitness trackers to smart toilets, a wide range of everyday objects are becoming more intelligent by being able to interact with – and adapt to – user needs effectively and in real-time.
Regardless of whether you are selling a product or a service, future customers are likely to expect intelligent connectivity and interaction from almost any business field. That means your company has to be ready to store, analyze, share and secure vast amounts of data.
4. Beef Up Your Cybersecurity
As hackers and fraudsters will certainly try to target the enormous and indispensable amounts of data generated by and collected from devices connected to the IoT, cybersecurity is a top business priority for any smart city company. Do not neglect to set up unique passwords for all your IoT devices and make sure that your customers feel secure enough to perform tasks and transactions within your company’s digital environment.
You will also need a dedicated plan of action to protect company and client data in case a security breach takes place.
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5. Prepare for Shifting Industry Value
With cities becoming more digitally connected, and digitization transforming a wide range of industries, many companies will have to adapt their approach and focus on core business values in order to survive and succeed in the smart city ecosystem.
Technology has reconfigured traditional employment norms and smart city administrations will probably not be able to provide every necessary urban application and service themselves. Think about how Uber has managed to redefine the taxi industry around the world and consider how and where the next wave of digital disruption might take place.
6. Consider your own contribution towards the 4 Pillars of the Smart City
If you are aiming for business success in the smart city, it should be clear by this point that accessibility, mobility, sustainability and collaboration are the central pillars of any thriving smart city of the present and future.
Once you identify your core business targets and values, you should consider how your company can benefit from the numerous collaboration opportunities presented in a digitally connected world., Consider how you can could shape your practices, communication and business culture in order to offer clients easily-accessible, mobile and environmentally-friendly products and services that solve their own unique challenges and problems.
At Bocasay, we are proud builders of technology that serves people and businesses around the world. If you want to turn your own Smart project into reality, get in touch to find out how we can help you. We have severals services centers to develop your projects : Vietnam offshore software development center or in Madagascar too.