smart city

Three Challenges That Smart Cities Navigate Effortlessly

17 September 2020

Smart City

A Smart City is one that uses data obtained directly from the city to come to better policy decisions. To gain the right to call itself a Smart City, it has many challenges to overcome first. Our webinar (available to watch) discussed these issues, and much more besides. We provide the key takeaways here!

Challenge 1: Optimize today, innovate tomorrow

Today, every municipality is working to optimize its city. This often boils down to improved services for residents, and for businesses too. Examples include promoting local trade or guiding consumers back towards the city center. While the existing situation must be kept up-and-running and even improved upon, tomorrow is just around the corner. New challenges such as drones, smart buildings and 5G are on their way. How will you deal with that? Does your vision already incorporate that vital technological dimension? Data and communication will be key. Artificial intelligence and collaboration are the means by which these new challenges can be overcome. 

To create a link between today and tomorrow, a continuous process is needed, one that is part of the policy plan. The Digital Flow concept embodies this idea and is a continuum of four activities that keep you on the move.

The webinar was both useful and welcome. Our everyday operational duties take up all our energies to such an extent that we assign (too) little time to structural thinking. Such a webinar helps us to stand still for a minute, to define a vision and look ahead. Brief, but inspiring.

Els Van Cleemput - Director of Internal Organization, Lievegem Municipality

Challenge 2: ICT as a tool, not as a goal in itself

A Smart City is often a City of Things. Throughout the city, countless sensors and cameras collect and transfer data to an infrastructure for analysis. The resulting insights can serve to determine a course of action. For example, you can count numbers of cars and then propose alternative routes on information boards along the road to redirect traffic automatically during peak times. Crucial factors here are functioning equipment and a good infrastructure to bring everything together. With an Edge platform, you can manage all the various sensors and cameras. It displays their general operational state, allows you to perform updates and reconfigure settings remotely, and enables secure data processing. As images are used immediately, for example, these can be processed locally and needn't be saved. These are just a few examples of ICT applications a city can incorporate. The main thing is that everything be rooted in a policy objective, not in the urge to show off with a smart camera.

Challenge 3: Implementation based on internal capability and support

Organizations are complicated things. Very often, departments operate in isolation, with collaboration and cross-pollination virtually non-existent. Furthermore, resources are often scarce, and ICT is not always assigned its correct role. To achieve a vision of a Smart City, this must be supported throughout your organization. Agile and Lean can help you establish this support. The implementation must take place in stages, with listening as the first, critical step. To create buy-in, you identify the needs and expectations of all stakeholders, designate the key people responsible for each area, and determine what is needed and when, together. During the implementation, regular feedback on the process and results can help you to make prompt adjustments as required.



Let yourself be guided through the Smart City landscape

Realdolmen provides strategic advice for the short or long term, and can help large and small municipalities start up their Smart City projects.

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