From the Internet of Things to the Internet of Cities

Some thoughts I discussed with a mayor (US city, >305.000 inhabitants):
“The internet has changed our lives, but not jet our cities.” (City Protocol, We still lack to utilize the possibilities that lie in technical connectivity by transforming this structural thinking into our living and working environment, into business models, consuming behaviors and value patterns.

Cities as well as industry are desperate to finde intelligent use cases for smart cities, but have not internalized connectivity. Possible reason is, that the vast possibilities that lie in the unstructured, agile and ever changing combination of data and assets – adressable e.g. through the Internet of Things – is beyond our imagination. This imagination is coined by specialization, which entails segmentation – fostered over hundrets of years. So we try to get our material (or product driven) “silo-fingers” around an amorph intangibility. “In order to re-invent the cities of the 21st century we must develop a new science of the cities” (City Protocol,


Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are a way to escape the short-term election-cycle trap. By leveraging public goods to foster private investment, save money, and create new long-term benefits city has an attractive financial model and industry gets a reliable timeframe for investments.
There are examples for e.g. infrastructure trust where private companies can invest and get concessions for 10 or 20 years to operate facilities. In a McKinsey report i read about an example in Washington/US where the mayor Vincent C. Gray initiated an “App for Democracy” to an open community platform developed for submitting non-emergency service requests to the city. The first edition of “App for Democracy” yielded 47 Web, iPhone and Facebook apps in 30 days—a US$ 2,300,000 value to the city at a cost of $50,000.

GARTNER “…oil of the 21st century…”

Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President GARTNER said: “Information is the “oil” of the 21st century. Analytics is the “motor” that runs with it. To extract the “resource” information out of the immense data volume is the core task of the company in future.”

Applied to cities:
With the increasing amount of data generated the relevance of data analyses and transfer into actionable information grows. The single purpose of data as well as proprietary systems are replaced by open interfaces, multi purpose of data and standardization. Standardization is the pre-requisit for scale up solutions that are basis for economically viable industry engagement.

Ever stolen a bicycle? Then you might also be interested in robbing a grocery store.

This article is about predictive systems. Examples talk about how to prevent crime based on historic data from e.g. police, real time data measured and run through algorithmic surveillance. Just as e.g. Amazon can tell what books you are likely to buy next, similar algorithms might tell the police where and what crimes might happen in a certain area.