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Consumers’ understanding of the Smart City concept

The Smart City is a concept which is getting widely popular in the last few years, becoming almost a catchphrase, and definitions have existed for around a decade now. Despite this, it seems that most citizens are not aware of the term, although they do have a good understanding of specific initiatives which are part of the concept.

A research conducted in the UK by Posterscope showed that, despite the media buzz around the Smart City concept and a large number of initiatives underway in the country, only 23% of consumers had heard the term, with men, the young, and tech adopters being those who were more aware of it.

This finding reveals the existence of a huge knowledge gap between what consumers know about Smart Cities and what they want from them. Such a gap can raise doubts about how well oriented towards the needs of citizens Smart City solutions actually are, and it might hinder the pace of innovation and its adoption.

On the other hand, despite the lack of awareness of the concept, the majority of consumers could understand what specific Smart City initiatives entailed and were able to clearly understand their benefits and evaluate them. Specifically, smart water, smart construction, smart energy, smart health, and smart transport and mobility initiatives were rated highly in terms of usefulness while smart tourism and leisure, smart retail and smart finance were considered less useful.

In short, while the main findings of the research suggest that there is little awareness or understanding of the smart city concept, looking into specific features shows that citizens are able to understand and can embrace those schemes that they see providing a real benefit or making a genuine difference to their daily lives. The appetite is there, but there’ s a huge knowledge gap that must first be overcome with increased awareness and education of consumer benefits.

The original article can be found on iot for all.