Smart cities: Start locally, think globally
NICE, France–In an exclusive interview with TM Forum Vice President of Strategic Programs Carl Piva, RCR Wireless News learned about the group’s growing emphasis on smart cities technology, as well as the outlook for adoption, potential pitfalls and more.
Although not specifically defined, smart cities share several components, Piva said. “Livability for citizens, which really means just enjoying life living in a city; workability for businesses, which really translates to creating startups, attracting R&D, getting the right kind of people moving into your city; and thirdly, sustainability, which is really around making it possible to operate the city in an efficient way.”
“Some cities will put their focus maybe on the livability aspect while others, they’re sort of forced to focus on the sustainability aspect. For us, we tend to focus on the livability aspect: how can we make life easier for citizens, better for citizens, how can we strengthen communities using ICT and communication technologies.”
So, as cities grapple with the investments needed to deploy smart cities technologies while maintaining focus on ROI, what’s the dynamic that’s emerging?
“Think big, but start small,” Piva said. “First, think big. How can you actually do something that has the potential of becoming big? You can start with a street or start with a small community or you could start with a stadium or you can start in a school. But, if you make sure that idea has the potential of actually being expanded laterally and horizontally, then there is a chance of actually making an impact.” Further, don’t “be blindly going after technology…taking a step back and thinking about whom are we doing this for, who will benefit from it? If you can start translate that into benefits and outcomes, you can fairly quickly start to translate it into tangibles like ROI. That’s the only chance councils have in order to fund anything at all. The other aspect of it, of course, is to think hard about what should we as a city do versus what should other people do. Thinking of a city as an enablement platform rather than as the entity that needs to develop everything themselves.”