A comprehensive analysis from Forrester Research explores the role the information and communications technology (ICT) will play in creating the foundation for smart cities -- whether those cities are newer communities being built from scratch or centuries-old metropolises.
The report, "Getting Clever About Smart Cities: New Opportunities Require New Business Models," suggests that new management approaches will be required to manage urban areas, as the population in those areas grows by an anticipated 2.3 billion over the next 40 years. That data (which comes from the United Nations) suggests that 70 percent of the world's total population will live in cities and surrounding regions by 2050. According to Forrester, a smart city is one that "uses information and communications technologies to make the critical infrastructure components and services of a city -- administration, education, healthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation and utilities -- more aware, interactive and efficient."
Here are some examples for ways that technologies can affect different "systems" required to keep a city up and running, in good health.
You'll notice that examples marry some combination of the following:
Of course, you're wondering, how can cities and towns find the money to invest in this technology?
I'm thinking, of course, about state and local governments in my own country, the United States, which are particularly budget-constrained as a result of the recession. Globally speaking, though, public-sector IT budgets have been just as stable this year than for commercial sectors. So, for example, 26 percent of public-sectors surveyed as part of the Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Tracker Survey (which is a global survey) in the second quarter of 2010 said they expected budget increases of 5 percent to 10 percent, while 11 percent expected growth of IT budget growth of more than 10 percent. That compares with responses of 31 percent and 13 percent, respectively, for IT managers with companies in the business services and construction sector. There were two technology areas, in particular, where more public-sector IT managers planned to invest than their commercial sector counterparts:
Realistically speaking, though, it will a lot of IT spending and investment to lay the IT infrastructure for smart cities. That's one reason that Forrester expects new technology funding models to be instrumental in the successful construction of smart city solutions. Here are three sorts of financial options that the report's authors expect to emerge:
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com