What are smart cities ?

Smart city

Smart city” is a marketing term used to define the use of technology – and in particular data collection – to improve the functioning of cities. The idea behind smart cities is that the more local governments know about city inhabitants the better the services they deliver will be. However, the reality is that the term means different things to different actors from companies to governments.

The World Bank suggests two possible definitions of smart cities. The first one is “a technology-intensive city, with sensors everywhere and highly efficient public services, thanks to information that is gathered in real time by thousands of interconnected devices.” The second one is “a city that cultivates a better relationship between citizens and governments – leveraged by available technology. They rely on feedback from citizens to help improve service delivery, and creating mechanisms to gather this information.” The different priorities, characteristics and terms used in each definition, in this case, given by the same entity reflects the diversity that exists in the sector.

Smart city
Smart city

Companies have given definitions of smart cities such as “new ways for the city to work” for IBM or “open-air computers” for Siemens.

Smart city projects range from the use of apps created by small start-ups – for instance to grade local services – to very broad infrastructures, designed by companies like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft that centralise the data collected on citizens and offer cities data analytics services. All of these have in common the reliance on data: whether it’s about generating and collecting data or offering services based on already available data.

>> Read : What are smart cities?!

Source : Privacy International

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