William Eichler 13 February 2018

Smart cities held back by ‘lack of funding’

Smart city programmes are held back by a lack of funding and visionary leadership, report says as London is named one of the top smart cities in the world.

A new report into the drivers and hurdles faced by local authorities considering implementing a smart city program has named Singapore, London and Barcelona as top global smart cities.

Published by Philips Lighting and SmartCitiesWorld, the study found the rewards of becoming a smart city were potentially very high.

Barcelona, for example, created an estimated 47,000 jobs through the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

The city also saved EUR42.5m (£37.6m) on water and generated an extra EUR36.5m (£32.3m) a year through smart parking.

Despite these advantages, one in 10 local authority representatives - out of 150 key influences from around the world - stated they did not have the capacity to look at developing a smart city program.

The most common inhibiting factors were budget limitations (23%) and the need for more supporting infrastructure (19%).

The report also revealed 56% of respondents cited visionary leadership as the factor that would make the biggest difference to the success of smart city programs.

It highlighted the impact of enlightened leaders inspired by long-term visions, which are inclusive and encourage collaboration between agencies and across departments.

The report also discusses the key role that the IoT has to play on smart city success.

Revolutionizing the collection of data (35%), revolutionizing communication for accurate service delivery (15%) and managing the strain on urban resources (13%) were ranked as the top three areas where the IoT would be most effective in cities.

‘Collaboration is key. For cities to truly benefit from the potential that smart cities offer, a change in mindset is required where local authorities plan longer and across multiple departments,’ said Andreas Knobloch, alliance specialist at Philips Lighting.

‘We must think of city-wide systems as one ecosystem working together.

‘At the same time, we all — technologists, local governments, businesses, environmentalists and the general public — must help to build the investment case to enable cities to successfully implement smart city programs.’

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