Smart City Economies

November 21, 2019 - In this webinar, CIMCON Advisory Board member and Mastercard executive Nic Villa, discussed the various phases a smart city goes through, and the evolution of different business models. 

The following are the major phases of the internet and cities:

  • Connectivity phase: focus was on deploying connectivity and who would invest on civil infrastructure. Cities tried to build a partnership between the public sector, city government, and telecom companies.
  • Services phase: once a city was wired, what types of services would be provided to its citizens? There were usually four clusters: transit, education, healthcare and public safety.
  • Sustainability phase: evolution accelerated due to climate change reports triggering discussions on how to use technology to decrease CO2 emissions and drive environmental sustainability.
  • IoT phase: cities started to think on how to connect every single element of the build environment to enable use cases but also to manage cities more efficiently.
  • Social media phase: besides connecting assets, cities began to connect people. Smart cities moved from being mere objects to communities.
  • Phase of inclusion: the last economic crisis helped us understand that cities needed to be inclusive with all citizens.

Business models underwent an evolution as well...

Together with the technology, we have also seen a change in the business models of smart cities:

  • Vendor by relationship: this is a very simple model, wherein government entities invested a great amount on infrastructure, only for little value and services to come out.
  • Infrastructure and software as a service: the cloud revolution created more capacity for cities to start developing additional data to then use to inform their decisions.
  • Big data revolution: the high volume of different types of data and fast transfer speeds obliged cities to learn how to combine text, video and sounds and to enable real-time data. 
  • Artificial Intelligence: the advent of artificial intelligence helped cities not only understand diverse data, but also comprehend the causes of such data.

We have came a long way in this smart city journey, but in the scope of the evolution of smart cities as a whole, this is only the beginning. If you want to read more about how cities can operate more efficiently and use less energy, take a look into the white paper Today’s Cities – Getting to Smart