Smart cities create a symbiosis between information, the Internet of Things and technologies to make better decisions and provide desired services. These cities map community preferences to improve services and infrastructure including public transport, libraries and waste services. They use sensors, Bluetooth and iPhones to track conditions and activities and send awareness messages ahead of emerging problems and disasters.
Smart cities integrate businesses in an expanding global innovation network. They do much more than creating a single great product or industry to stay ahead of the innovation curve. They develop visioning initiatives to create their preferred futures.
But making products that “change the world’ does help keep locations in the news. Hyperloop systems to increase the speed and lower the cost of travel are synonymous with Californian innovators. Augmented reality glasses that will remove the need to work at your PC put New York developers in the spotlight. Singapore is known for its digital economy and driverless taxis.
Smart cities cannot afford to be complacent about their achievements. If they stand still, they will soon be overtaken by further innovation.
Digital disrupter Uber plans to add driverless cars to its ride-sharing network. The next innovative mode of travel around smart cities will be autonomous aerial vehicles ‘“ drones and quadcopters. Dubai plans to have passenger drones up and running within months.
How can cities stay ahead of the curve?
For futurist Sohail Inayatullah, progressive innovation is empowering (increasing inclusion), nature-based (learning from, protecting and often enhancing through new technologies) and purposeful.
Mayors, CEOs and leaders create a progressive culture that attracts and retains talented staff. Smart organisations improve staff skills and design reflective spaces. They provide a healthy lifestyle culture supported by excellent pay and conditions.
They also encourage employees to participate in innovation hubs, city labs, maker spaces, universities and business start-ups, and via shared platforms with Creative Commons licences.
California’ s high-tech companies ‘“ Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Netflix, eBay, Tesla and the like ‘“ gain product feedback from customers and New York financiers every year at CES in Las Vegas. CES 2017 displayed TVs with 2.5mm screens that vibrate to make sound, holographic displays, eye-tracking phones and an electric car that accelerates from 0-59km per hour in 2.39 seconds. While products on display were designed in US cities, global suppliers made many of them.
Cities also stay ahead of the innovation curve through the actions of industry leaders who promote the diversity and stability of local workforces. In 2008, US smart cities benefited from the support of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who testified to the importance of hiring foreigners.
Microsoft, along with Amazon and Expedia, again supported Washington State in 2017 by testifying against US President Donald Trump’ s immigration ban. In a joint message of co-operative governance to protect global relationships, 16 US attorneys-general rallied against the presidential executive order denying entry to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. They rejected the immigration ban for undermining national security and America’ s core values as a “nation of immigrants’.
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