A recent RICS Research Trust report organized by University of Reading academics identified a lack of clear strategy for developing Smart Cities in the UK. Less than a quarter of UK cities had a smart city action plan. In those that did, the main focus was on open data. The main problem was that the built environment real estate and construction sectors did not seem to interact and coordinate with the smart city agenda.
The report focused on four case studies, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Amsterdam and Taipei, to benchmark the progress and the problems of UK smart cities.
It identified four key barriers to the development of big data projects in the built environment:
- A lack of consistency in the definitions and measurement of built environment big data.
- A low level of built environment sector business engagement.
- The lack of interoperability between different varieties of datasets.
- The present lack of a ‘˜bottom-up’ , demand-focused approach to the smart cities agenda.
In addition, the research highlights the need for built environment professionals and their professional bodies to act around two key issues:
- The need to better understand the use and supply of built environment big data.
- The need to recognize the changing roles of stakeholders.
The Director of Global Research & Policy of RICS, Dr. Clare Eriksson, commented:
The built environment sector is faced with increasing opportunities and challenges in unlocking the potential offered by the fast rate of technological change. The new report provides highly pertinent and timely insights into how the development of data platforms at the city level can be better used by built environment professionals. It identifies how RICS professionals need to become more “data savvy” and identify where big and open data, alongside the smart city agenda, can help inform and improve organizational performance. Professionals and sector leaders will also need to focus on data interoperability and the necessity of a common data language and standards.