More than just ‘smart’, cities must be ‘future-ready’

More than just ‘smart’, cities must be ‘future-ready’

Cities around the world have long been experimenting with technology to become ‘smart’ through initiatives such as using sensors to improve traffic management and applying AI solutions to increase energy efficiency – with varying degrees of success. 

Most have not lived up to the hype. Promised improvements in public services, economic development and citizens’ lives remain largely theoretical. 

Combined with this, the acceleration in catastrophic weather events, natural disasters and global health emergencies means that cities don’t just need to be smart, but also ‘future-ready’. In other words, they must build the foundations for both prosperity and resilience in the face of predictable and unpredictable challenges and adapt to fast-changing social and economic situations.

Based on the findings of a recent survey of over 200 city officials across six regions globally, conducted by ThoughtLab and co-sponsored by Cognizant, the study, Beyond Smart Cities – to Future-Ready Cities, identifies six key imperatives officials need to consider as they work towards improving citizens lives and creating resilient cities of the future:

  • Develop three-point ecosystems to support​ and execute the future-ready city vision – these ecosystems span three key groups: local governments, infrastructure providers (telcos) and integrators (tech partners)
  • Design ecosystems with the right dynamics 
  • Create individual solutions with a shared foundation in mind 
  • Embolden tech choices, supported by ecosystem partners
  • Share data by default
  • Take privacy concerns to heart
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