City leaders around the world have been implementing smart technologies to make things run more efficiently in the background. Advanced sensor technologies and high-tech command centers have been implemented to manage more complex operations and automate infrastructure systems. Smart cities add digital intelligence to existing urban systems, making it possible to do more efficiently with less resources. New technologies are increasing being implemented in the daily lives of individuals to make their day to day easier and to connect them to information. Smartphones are being used as real-time sources of information about transit, health, safety, news, and businesses to help guide daily decision making and improve the quality of life. Companies, governments, individuals are all increasingly using the technology to generate revenue, improve quality of life and improve the safety and security of residents.
Externalities of Smart Cities
With all the benefits that Smart Cities offer, there are externalities to consider as well. With the automation of services, there will be disruption in the labor market and new skills are needed and other skills become obsolete. Smart cities require smart governments that invest in people, technology and infrastructure that can implement, maintain and operate the new complex technologies. The abundance of data generated by Smart City technologies requires processing power, software and automation. The importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to process all this data will become increasingly apparent. Privacy is increasingly a concern as more information about our daily activities become interconnected with the rest of the world. Governments and the private-sector now hold potentially sensitive personal data, making it critical to be thoughtful about how that data is being collected and used. Smart Cities are more vulnerable to cyberattacks and security risks that can endanger the health and safety of its citizens.
Governments and Businesses Must Evolve to Meet the Changing Environment due to Increasingly Smart Cities
Smart cities are changing the environment that we live and operate in. We can no longer ignore technology but must adapt, learn and use it to our advantage. We must be aware of its attributes, how it is being used by governments and companies, and what are their vulnerabilities. At the end of the day, smart cities start with people, not technology. Smart cities are not just installing digital interfaces and streamlining operations, it’s about using technology and data to improve the behavior and lives of people. Command centers must be managed and operated by people and the data that is processed and analyzed is still highly reliant on human intelligence. Companies and governments must adapt to the way they operate and must shift their approach from throwing off-the-shelf technologies together and instead must consider a holistic approach to their operations that consider not only the technology but also the people behind that the technology and those it affects.