Citizen engagement is critical to the success of smart cities, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). Smart city initiatives are no longer about optimized traffic patterns, parking management, efficient lighting and improvements to public works, says the research group.
“The way forward today is a community-driven, bottom-up approach where citizens are an integral part of designing and developing smart cities, and not a top-down policy with city leaders focusing on technology platforms alone,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan research vice president at Gartner.
For smart citizens the focus is not just about the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and smart machines, but the enhancement of services and experience. Therefore, citizen-government dialogue is a key component that will ensure that the right issues are tackled.
To keep pace with the changing needs of citizens, and the development of new business, cities are now striving to become not just smart, but also innovative. Machine learning and chatbots are being used to engage citizens or assets with their environment. Cities are building business and technology policies to assess the opportunities offered by potentially disruptive technologies like AI for elderly care, autonomous driving or delivery bots. In addition, there are emerging use cases for blockchain for transactions and in record keeping.
“As data analytics and insights become increasingly valuable because of the extensive analytics and learning, data algorithms will become the essential element to create user-focused services,’ said Traz-Ryan. “Changes in citizen mindsets mean that governments must change their mindsets. Government CIOs today need to look at creating innovation strategies to attract new industries and develop digital skills. They need to look at changing their spatial planning, road infrastructure, data and service management.”