How To Develop A Digital Transformation Strategy For Smart Cities

An integrated approach to the Internet of Things (IoT), connectivity, Artificial intelligence (AI), distributed computing and other technologies is required to transform cities into smart cities.

Cities of a nation form pillars of the economic growth of that nation but they can become unmanageable due to various factors like overpopulation, undelivered or underdelivered critical services. Such factors can lead to a point where the cities become an unpleasant place to be.

Therefore the idea that smart cities are needed to make cities a beacon of opportunities and economic growth is being realized worldwide. What makes a city a “smart city” is not just the degree of technology advancements that the city is abreast with. An integrated approach to technology implementation can help relieve particular challenges like parking and traffic management, street lighting, energy consumption, and public safety.

What A Smart City Should Look Like:

A four-step process is involved – from the foundational infrastructure to the management layer – in building future-ready smart cities.

Infrastructure – innovative and latest ICT infrastructure need to be deployed in the cities to form the basis for digital economic development.

Security – Ensuring that there is no threat of the city being compromised when critical applications are developed into the smart city. It is an important step in the ladder.

Digitalization –At this step, the whole city is joined around the vision of the smart city by helping its industries to attain digitalization.

Management – This last step can be called the “brain” of the smart city. A management platform across the city that features AI and machine learning to help and improve the attempts of the city managers.

A methodical order needs to be followed while taking these steps so that a stable and flexible framework can be established.

Furthermore, success cannot be achieved by applying just any technology in smart cities. Any technology that can be considered appropriate to be applied in smart city projects should have three key traits:

  • It should be open source – Smart cities bring industry, government, and varied types of technologies together because they are collaborative projects. There is only one method which can allow these projects to function efficiently and that is if it allows everyone to approach them from an open-source perspective.
  • Data should be open as well – Data collection, its management, and usage are one of the main outcomes from smart city projects. A smart city project will be successful only if there is an open and efficient sharing of data between agencies and bodies.
  • Application-driven –Applications are responsible for the developments in living and workplace standards, and city efficiency and that is what any Smart City project aims at finally. This should be the focus of any smart city project from the beginning.

Only one aspect like technology or environmental sustainability should not be considered while planning to develop a smart city. The city should perform well across more than one dimension in order for it to perform well on the index. Improving the quality of the life of its residents by making sure their economic, social and environmental sustainability should be the goal while developing a smart city.

Below are examples of the top seven smartest cities in the world.

  1. London


The number of start-ups and programmers London has is more than almost any other city in the world. More than 50,000 individuals, companies, researchers and developers use the open data platform called London Datastore, every month. One of Europe’s biggest construction projects – the Crossrail project is being pursued currently in London which will add 10 new train lines to the city and link it with 30 already existing stations toward the end of this year.

  1. New York


New York enjoys the top position on the economy dimension since it is considered the world’s most important economic center. It is home to over 7,000 high-tech firms and is known for its integrated technology services including a free Wi-Fi service LinkNYC. New York’s economy is indeed thriving but its social cohesion still leaves much to be desired.

  1. Amsterdam


Amsterdam is an important European power due to the combination of financial technology, energy efficiency, and culture. 90% of families in Amsterdam have bicycles and it has an advanced system of automated services that allow the public to use shared bicycles. It will become Europe’s first zero-emissions city since a project is in progress in Amsterdam to ban gasoline and diesel cars by the year 2025.

  1. Paris


Paris is considered to be one of the most important financial hubs in Europe. It is working to encourage clean transport through the use of bicycles and electric vehicles. The city is known for open innovation allowing its inhabitants and other actors to access the city’s data flows.  The flows of people and vehicles in the city is optimized using the Internet of Things (IoT).

  1. Tokyo

Source: Twitter

Tokyo is the most populous urban agglomeration in the world. It is one of the cities with the highest rates of labor productivity. The city is also the highest-ranked city in Asia. It is in the top 30 for the dimensions of urban planning, mobility and transportation, and technology.

  1. Singapore


Singapore is known for technology and everything that revolves around technology. It has a fiberoptic network and about three mobiles for every two residents. Its hospitals have both robot and human staff. It has autonomous taxis with no driver, vertical gardens and farms that adjust the temperature by absorbing and dispersing heat while collecting rainwater.

  1. Las Vegas


Las Vegas has already invested so much in “smart” infrastructure that it is bound to become a smart city by 2025. The aim is to develop efficient transportation systems and smart technology that works seamlessly and offer efficient services to its residents as well as visitors.

The strategy and technology involved in a smart city take the data from the physical world and saves it in an efficient and readable manner which can then be used by both humans as well as AI to provide innovation and efficiencies back to the city

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