Top 5 tips for smart cities

Tom Merritt lists five ways urban leaders can make sure their cities are smart and safe, according to an EastWest Institute report.

Top 5 tips for smart cities

Smart cities have been promised for years. The rise of more powerful mobile devices, sensors, and the promise of 5G connectivity means we may be getting closer to realizing the benefits of a smart city. A report from the EastWest Institute (PDF) advises urban leaders on how to keep their cities smart and safe. What's involved? Let's count down five tips for smart cities.

  1. Use common platforms: Share data across systems and make sure your tech investments can be accessed across the entire city. This will increase efficiency and get cities the most bang for their buck.
  2. Be willing to adopt new tech: Cities have a reputation for moving slowly and using systems and infrastructure for much longer periods than individuals or businesses would. Without being wasteful, don't hesitate to bring in new tech when it clearly will work better than the old.
  3. Make security a priority: Implement secure devices and enforce security at the network level as well. Also, implement redundant systems so it's harder for an attacker to take things down.
  4. Respect privacy and handle data responsibly: Hire a privacy officer whose job is to report on the state of data protection and advocate for citizens.
  5. Engage citizens: Tell people what decisions are being made and why. Encourage interested citizens to collaborate and help coordinate the deployment of smart city initiatives.

As you know, it's not enough to slap up some sensors and tell people when the next bus is coming. Smart cities can make our communities work better--if we're smart about it.

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