Digital for all now

Smart cities : sensors, data… and above all, people

Econocom 3 Dec 2014

More and more cities are “going smart” in order to manage transport and energy more efficiently. But aside from collecting data and installing sensors, a smart city is chiefly about people and public governance, explains Emma Stewart, head of sustainability solutions at Autodesk and a faculty member at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Stanford Graduate School of Business, in the Guardian.

 

BEING SMART AND SELECTIVE ABOUT SENSORS

In order to reduce their carbon footprint and improve citizens’ quality of life, cities need the right tools: buildings and fixtures need to be fitted with sensors that can measure factors such as energy performance, for example.

 

“When a new city is built from the ground up in China for example, sensoring everything up makes sense, but most cities already exist and must be more selective about what to instrument,” Stewart explains.

 

COLLABORATION BETWEEN MAN AND MACHINE

But it’s not just about installing sensors. As Stewart points out, cities need skilled staff who can not only manage the equipment but also analyse the data: “No matter how good your algorithms for interrogating big data may be, it still requires humans to go beyond identifying correlation to proving causation.”
Steward recommends “sound policies and analysis-driven urban planning” to ensure an efficient smart city.
State-of-the-art technology therefore should come hand-in-hand with new skills and expertise if the full potential of “Digital for all, Now” is to be realised.

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