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Report – Smart cities: Where’s the ROI?

SmartCitiesWorld Trend Reports examine an emerging or growing trend in smart cities, highlighting progress so far and future potential, as well as spotlighting case studies from cities around the world.

Written by Sue Weekes, News Editor, SmartCitiesWorld, this report examines how smart cities can achieve a three-dimensional return-on-investment that delivers economic, environmental and social benefits.

The presented case studies show that whatever a city’ s aims and ambitions, the right starting point is central to the successful roll-out of not just the initial application but all of those that follow.

The report offers some key recommendations:

Start small to demonstrate ROI and gain stakeholder support
Smart cities can start with a single application. Start with one that delivers immediate benefits. Leverage the foundation to prove value and justify follow-on investment to key decision-makers. Starting with a robust, multi-purpose platform from the start will maximise the chance of success.

Develop a culture of collaboration
Smart cities are as much about the people and processes behind them as the technology. Cities need to ensure that as well as introducing new technologies, they are adapting ways of working and processes, and creating a culture that aligns goals towards long-term transformation.

360-degree leadership and vision
Not only must smart cities put in place an executive layer with responsibility for devising a holistic vision but ensure individual departmental efforts are coordinated to deliver on this promise. Only looking at projects from all angles will help identify opportunities for cross-departmental efficiencies and maximise benefit to residents.

Engage all stakeholders
As well as departments and agencies, this also means external ones such as citizens and relevant parties in the ecosystem. Ensure everyone has a voice and help them to see projects in the bigger picture.

Encourage open minds and open platforms
Without one or both of these, the smart city project is at risk from the start. Be open to new ideas and ways of working but don’ t invest in anything until you are satisfied that what you are buying will enable you to realise your vision.

Tap into the creativity of open ecosystems to drive innovation
Connect and engage with the world of innovation. Who knows what tomorrow’ s challenges will be, let alone how to address them, but having a mechanism in place to constantly innovate will help maximise the benefits of your investments and ensure a three-dimensional ROI.