Smart city: Not just a tech project; community goals count

Many look at smart city projects as an IT project. However use of technology should not be the end goal, but it should be a means to achieve community goals.

I recently collaborated with Srivatsa Anchan on this article for India’s Moneycontrol.com.

Not all “smart” city investments are very smart. Today we have billions of dollars being spent to transform our cities, towns and rural districts into Smart Cities, Intelligent Communities, Living Cities, Sustainable Cities and Green Cities. Even the names are confusing. Beyond the proliferation of jargon, what’s really happening to change the nature of city building today? Why all the fuss and investment, and are the strategies the same in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as in the developed countries? China began creating one hundred Smart Cities five years ago and now Indian Prime Minister Modi has announced his intent to create one hundred Smart cities in the next five years. On his recent trip to India, President Obama offered to support India in the creation of three Smart Cities in India. Can everyone participate and achieve the benefits of this new urban transformation driven by technology?

First, what’s happening and why should you care? Technology driven transformation along with new product innovation has created the rapid growth of smart phones and tablet computers with more power than mainframe computers that filled large rooms fifty years ago. But this is just the tip of an iceberg. Thousands of new applications have turned our cars into computers on wheels and “disrupted” yesterday’s products, systems, services and now our cities. The camera market is just one example of how the rapid pace of innovation works to the advantage of some and not others: the rise of digital cameras virtually put Polaroid and Kodak out of business. The room-sized computer inside the old mainframe computer system now fits on the head of a pin, but who cares? The question is what are the applications and how can we benefit from them, in context of city development, and future habitat’s?

Read the complete article here.

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