About Smart Cities

Smart Cities

What do we mean:

Smart cities are those where the city authorities create an intelligent platform for key services, such as energy, water, transport, healthcare and local community, by integrating the information they collect (while respecting privacy) and improving analytics of that information, to transform the quality and cost effectiveness of service delivery/amenities; while opening the prospect of new service development through open access to this intelligent urban platform.

What are the benefits:

The prize for implementing such a vision and platform approach to service delivery is:
- a significant reduction in the cost of service delivery as a whole. A separate study, by Cap Gemini, on the benefits of adopting a more strategic approach to information management in UK local authorities, put the value at £18 billion pa;
- the improvements in the quality of public services, including traffic management and the quality/sustainability of the city environment, will make early movers attractive locations for people and business alike with positive impact on low carbon competitiveness, inward investment and wealth generation;
- as in the 19th Century, UK cities will be a showcase for UK firms in how to tackle societal challenges and urbanisation, it will open up export opportunities for a wide range of professional and business services. Infrastructure investment worldwide is expected to increase by around $1.9 trillion per annum until 2030 (OECD), and so the opportunities for knowledge intensive firms to develop and manage smart infrastructures are very large indeed.
But strong competition is emerging from cities in India and China but also Singapore, San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro and leading European cities such as Barcelona and Amsterdam are investing in this area. And while the conceptual framework for smart cities is well developed by industry, UK cities lack the economic value case and leadership capability to act now.

An Outline Strategy:

The strategy for delivering the smart city concept should be:
- the establishment of three “smart city” demonstrators, using competitive processes for selection, from the 2nd tranche of the Regional Fund. The applicants would need to demonstrate a track record in developing integrated data systems, the support and collaboration of utilities/services in their area and a willingness to make available public re-useable data;
- the development of a Technology Innovation Centre/Network in the field of intelligent urban platforms (with support from EPSRC, Technology Strategy Board and private sector) which would develop world class research including: economics of urban information systems optimisation, core platform architecture, analytics and privacy; and
- a means of disseminating findings and leadership development for local government and business alike with a view to strengthening awareness of the value of , and methodologies to deliver, platform or integrated approaches to service delivery in towns/cities.

Partners with Government: Leading firms based in the UK, such as IBM, Arup and Accenture, as well as a number of UK universities, eg Imperial College, are at the forefront of thinking and willing to devote resource to developing further UK capability on the lines set out above