Too old for Smart City?

(Source: Presentations on the “Smart City Expo World Congress 2012″, Barcelona / Spain, 13.-15.11.2012)

According to John Baekelmans, CTO Cisco, Smart & Connected Communities, future business models are not about the communication of things only, but about the interaction between people, things and data – key use cases, according to Cisco, are in remote monitoring, plant automation and big data analyses.

“Technology and finances are the backbones of a city” so Kulveer Ranger, former consultant for traffic and infrastructure of Mayor Boris Johnson, London UK. “Keeping the systems up and running is vital for the sustainability of the economies of a city. However citizens have to accept the offered solutions therefore technical innovation imacts cultural change. It is crucial to teach people how to use technology for their daily life”. Demographie plays a key role in this context. Generation Z, also known as iGeneration, the Net Generation, or the Internet Generation, borne in the 1990 through to recent years, is a highly connected group as many of them have had lifelong use of communications and media technologies (www, SMS, MP3, You Tube). They are completely borne in the time of mass-technology, postmodernism, multiculturalism and globalization. The “digital natives” carry the internet in their pockets on mobile devices and are used to curating information online at a rapid pace: sharing thoughts and observations on a variety of media, topics and products.

Based on that natural commerce a project in Rio de Janeiro was launched by UNICEF and the MIT Mobile Experience Lab, presented by Federico Caslegno. 160 adolescents from 2 favelas log information with their mobile phones on environmental risks within their community. The GPS signal is attached to the message and the picture which enables city authorities to take targeted action. Population sees action taken as an appraisal for their engagement. The project will be scaled up and rolled out to 9 other favelas in Brazil. The first pilots also resulted in a decrease of the youth crime rate.

A similar approach was described by Ed Bryan, IBM Vice President Software Group Industry Solutions and Smart Cities Development, where citizens report damaged streetlighting with their mobile phones. This helps cities to focus budget by targeted repairs.

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