A new report published by Gigaom Research explores the new opportunities that the emerging ecosystem of “Smart Cities” offers to startups. Startups can harness a growing ecosystem of consumer technologies, open data, supportive city policies, urban startup-focused programs, open procurement, and organizations involved in everything from funding to research and help solve urban challenges.
The report proposes four strategies that can be adopted by startups in order to harness the Smart Cities ecosystem:
- Sell directly to citizens. Urban leaders look to citizens to help set priorities for investment in new solutions. However, citizens have also demonstrated willingness to directly seek out, test, and pay for solutions where they can see direct benefits, particularly in areas like sustainability and mobility.
- Build on open city data sets. APIs for services like Google Maps or Twitter have become important resources that developers can build on. The emergence of standards, tools, and supportive policies are making available a growing set of data, from 311 reports to real-time transit data.
- Build on more standard city policies. Cities increasingly look to one another to understand what policies are working. Like data standards, similar policies across more cities mean that startups do not have to adapt product and services to unique situations in each city.
- Sell to cities via open procurement. Cities are finding new ways to expand calls for proposals to enable more participation from small and medium businesses. There are also more cities embracing pilot programs to test new products and services, giving startups more opportunities to evaluate prototypes and turn pilot successes into sales opportunities.