With excitement being showcased globally regarding smart cities, a line is drawn for once to assess the challenges that behold for the government, MNCs, and Industries once it has kick-started the journey.
FREMONT, CA: With technology being brandished as a great equalizer around the world, the smooth connectivity of mobile workforces, seamless transportation, and sustainability of the cities have been deemed factors that determine the quality of life. Cities of all sizes, from Bangkok to Boston have launched blueprints and unveiled plans to interlink fiber optics, light rail lines, automated vehicles, and 5G networks into a grid of always-on mobility.
It is projected that two-thirds will make $135 billion in investments of cities globally towards smart city technology. With the graph rising from present, sustainable and smart technologies like smart utility meters, e-government applications, Wi-Fi kiosks, intelligent traffic signals, and radio frequency identification sensors in the pavement are preferred prominently.
From the private sector point of view, the fear of lobbying and non-existential partnership between government and private isn’t a major factor to stop the industries in sectors including energy, tech, finance, automotive, and telecommunications to get involved in the smart cities movement more than the knee depth.
Even with the voluntary contributions, the conversion of these cities into a cohesively interlinked digital Shangri-la is a challenge unravelling in layers. The myriad players equipped with the most advanced technologies to steadily bring into motion the smart cities movement are also fraught with difficulties. Some among them are:
• Concerns Regarding Government Surveillance: A keystone of smart city technology is the tracking models of citizens’ movement to understand traffic, commuter routes and public safety. Concerns about tracking have also been questioned over data privacy norms.
• Data Standardization: For effective adoption of smart city technology and seamless interoperability, the entirety of the systems should transform, not in piecemeal approaches and isolated pilot projects. It is a difficult feat given the numerous mechanisms influencing these projects.
• Misaligned Agendas: Governments have fixed budgets, siloed secretarial structures, adversaries, and inclination to invest in technology with a long lifecycle. Unlike the factors for innovation and vendors want to build, scale, sell, iterate, develop, and sell again.
Legislative chambers and corporate boardrooms sculpted by finance and tax policies, market forces, societal pressure and technological upgrades are hurdles to cross. Stakes are high, and success craves diligence, transparency, vow to scrutinize, assess and manage the prospects and risks.