Key Elements of Building Smart Cities

Smart City seems to be one of most hyped topic in 2015 and will continue in 2016. India has recently named and launched 100 Smart Cities initiative. If you Google the word “Smart City”, news from Smart City India will be the listed in the first ten. But Smart City is not a new term, it has been coined many years earlier when it has been mainly driven by IT companies and telcos. Many cities have tried and many have failed to achieve. And many initiatives stopped at Framework stage only. So, what makes Smart Cities successful? There are many factors, but I feel there are three (3) basic, but critical elements need to be in any Smart City plans.

These three factors are:

  1. The Visionary Government – Who can champion better other than the authority themselves? Visionary leaders and citizen-focused leaders need to be appointed. They want to see how smart cities can become an engine of economic growth and to do that they have to make the cities to be a liveable one. The local authorities must be very transparent and customer-focused in serving the people.
  2. The Smart Citizens – Who make or break the cities? None other than the citizens themselves. What’s the use of significant infrastructure when assets are vandalized, and laws are being broken? Civic-mindedness is critical to ensure resources are well maintained. Citizens can become handy in providing ideas and critical feedback to improve the cities.
  3. The Innovative Technology – Many technologies will fail if the above two elements are ignored. Internet of Things (IoT) is seen to be one of the key element in gathering insights about the city. Many of the city’s assets need to be properly monitored with the objective to optimize resources. Cities can start with basic monitoring to controlling and finally to automate many of city’s IT infrastructure.

Let’s have further discussion about this. What’re your thoughts?

About the Author

Dr. Mazlan Abbas is an IOT Evangelist, Thought Leader and CEO of REDtone IOT. You can reach him on LinkedIn at or Twitter at . Check all presentation slides HERE.
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