Francisco Morcillo is Advisor on Urban and Territorial Innovation about Smart Cities. International Lecturer and Blogger in the important blog 2TI #Smartcity and Guest-Blogger in numerous national and international publications; Mentor on Business Opportunities in Smart Cities. Founder and CEO of MB3-GESTION since 2005, develops a line specialized in Territorial Innovation focusing in the Smart City field, searching for the definition of ecosystems, business and management models in cities, under sustainable criteria along with the implementation of ICT solutions and with urban and territorial planning, focused on the citizen and under the framework of social innovation.
The new urban citizen is not only a recipient of public services, “citizens must feel the city through its services” and the future city does not provide computer technology or count on “clever apps that offer services to citizens.” All this can be easier, the smart city concept, as an improvement in the citizens’ quality of life through technology is “about useful and easy stuff” and not about technological applications that invade our everyday life. For that reason, the key lies in creating an ecosystem in the city, where the layers of intelligence can be identified, its resources are known and the value chain, the aforementioned quality of life, is defined, such as enabling business opportunities.
Cities must have a strategy, but “cities should not be the ones being hyper-connected, which is why I prefer the perspective and the strategy of understanding the hyper-connected citizen to give value to the smart city.” From the perspective of the analysis of cities and their citizens, the possible business patterns should consider:
1.- The city and its data. The generation of data with the increase of connectivity between objects and supported by predictive or analytical information technologies turn into useful tools for decision-making in the public sector and an additional source of information.
2.- Citizens and data. The connected citizen becomes an administrador of information that with the use of technology feeds from and provides useful and relevant information for the city. But one must note that information can also be useful for companies, here lies the importance of digital transformation in businesses.
3.- New habits. A city and a connected citizen facilitates new personal and social relationships as well as the possibility of facing solutions in regard with education, health, sports or security. The evolution of the new habit means new innovative services that must be implemented in the urban environment, with the objective of reaching the highest efficiency in the provision of the public service.
4.- Data analysis of the city, the citizens, and the search for new tendencies as a tool towards the city’s digital transformation.
As stated above, getting to know the smart city and hence its business models must follow a previous understanding about its citizens and tendencies. Knowing its technological strategic plans is not enough, but rather knowing the new methods of relation, connection and participation in society are, and the resources they have. All together configure a new model, a new strategy that we must reflect on if we want to evolve in the design process of the smart city, “their smart city.” This can be summarized in five key aspects:
1.- Ubiquity and the stage we are at in the development of the internet, through mobile users in various contexts and environments instead of just focusing on devices is the citizen’s new need. This makes us believe that this is not about designing only new tech solutions with sundry opportunities, but it is also necessary to bring the process closer to a design based on user experience and their global needs. Knowing profiles, demand, place of connection and digital environment is a big challenge to bring technology closer to the real service.
2.- Enabling autoservice, supported by the information and data available on the cloud as the new orientation of the citizens’ orientation and demand. It is clear that leaving everything to the chance of servers and personal information is not justifiable anymore. Real time, the need for an immediate response, auto-administering as the foundation of an improvement in the production system and the public service has become a reality.
3.- Besides, the concept of the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything (IoE, as shortened by some companies such as Intel). Besides the citizen’s regular connection, we find the opportunity to connect devices while generating a digital environment that may yield great options or solve apparently unsolvable problems. Performing an adequate administration of data, managing them and operating them, as well as providing options for the generation of an economic efficiency, are new approaches that should prevail in the design of a global management of the city.
4.- Also, the re-design of future industries and designers will generate a Fab_Lab, Urban Lab creation process that will enable the testing and “hacking” of the city. It is not just about supplying technological laboratories, nor the future has to be in opening a number of collaborative spaces with the latest technology. We need to test products and develop public and private challenges.
5.- Citizen’s intelligence and collective intelligence will force us to understand each environment and perform an actual response. The citizen does not just want a battery of services that provide a few domestic solutions or a series of options that were not demanded by them. For that matter it is necessary to create an adequate system that allows for an understanding of the context, the collective needs and hence respond. But not just from time to time; generated information and data will act in an evolutionary and increasing way, adapt to collective demand and generate more information, adapted to the user and not just a mere automation of data.
6.- The opening of data as a strategy, not only transparency-led, as open data seems to be oriented sometimes. This is an essential key to give response to demand in an evolutionary way. Systems, networks, data storage or data centers, must provide the citizen with modifiable options in time to adapt them to current needs. In sum, reaching development and the totality of operations in a coordinated manner to promote the fast gradual and continuous development of applications and services.
1.- Acciones prioritarias para el desarrollo de las smart cities en España. CEOE May 2015
2.-Additional information about Gartner Symposium / ITxpo en Orlando, available on http://www.gartner.com/us/symposium.
3.- La Sociedad de la Información en España 2013 siE|15
4.-Mapping Smart Cities in the EU Roadmap 2016 https://eu-smartcities.eu/content/overview-our-initiatives
5.- Notes on the Blog 2TI http://www.smartcitymb3.wordrpress.com
Cover photo by Jonathan Pielmayer.