Sunday, 9th August 2020

Report sheds light on smart city expectations

Nutanix has sponsored a new report sponsored written by The Economist Intelligence Unit entitled ‘Accelerating urban intelligence: People, business and the cities of tomorrow’, which explores expectations of citizens and businesses for smart-city development in some of the world’s major urban centres. While globally smart cities have the common goal of improving urban living, what this looks like in action varies from place to place.

The study analyses survey data from over 7,700 residents and business executives in 19 large cities around the world, including London, UK to reveal how their priorities differ and align.


Responses differ from city to city, but overall the study finds that citizens want smart city initiatives to make public services more affordable while businesses want them to be more efficient and reliable. Nearly as important for both groups, however, is that smart initiatives produce greener, cleaner environments in which to live and work. Many individual demands of respondents—such as more renewable energy options, cleaner air and water, more efficient waste recovery and smarter energy tariffing—all contribute to more liveable environments for citizens and workers alike.


The key findings of the study are:


  • Priorities differ between developed and emerging-world cities. Developing smart-city solutions to ease the blights of unemployment, crime, poor sanitation and rubbish accumulation are especially high priorities in Johannesburg, Mumbai and São Paulo. Respondents from developed-world cities place stronger emphasis on improving transport efficiency, reducing road congestion and making services more affordable.

  • Big dreams for big tech. Wariness of large technology firms may be on the rise due to negative media coverage about privacy scandals, disruptions to jobs and other factors, but most respondents want their cities to be involved in smart city initiatives. Citizens expect they will create job opportunities, and executives hope they will spur innovation and create new market opportunities.

  • Inevitable trade-offs to urban intelligence—particularly involving data—should not deter its development. Over two-thirds (70%) of business respondents say the ability to access open government data is vital to their business. Nearly as many executives (69%) say they are willing to share more data to secure the benefits of smart cities. Most citizens, too, are ready to share data with their governments if it means smarter public services. Some seem ready to compromise on privacy as well: two-thirds (66%) believe facial recognition technology will do more good than harm when used to fight crime.

  • Some smart-city expectations will be tough to meet. Citizens’ hopes for job creation and those of executives for new business opportunities will be difficult for smart-city programmes to fulfil, according to experts interviewed for the study. Transport and other services may be more efficient and cleaner, but not always cheaper. City officials must try to manage expectations for what smart initiatives can deliver.


It is interesting to note the London findings of the study below:


  • Top ways cities can improve their development of smart initiatives - Better long-term planning is the most oft-cited plea of London businesses and citizens when asked about the best way to improve the development of smart city initiatives.

  • Improving Affordability - Encouraging the growth of low-cost transport options is the top expectation of London citizens when it comes to smart city programmes.

  • The Green Imperative - The top way in which London citizens expect smart city programmes to enhance environmental sustainability is by expanding the availability of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power.


While the technologies that underpin many existing or planned urban projects are hardly exotic territory for most people, they need to address the fundamental problems of everyday urban life. When asked to choose from a menu of technologies most integral to their town’s smart-city initiatives, the vast majority select 5G mobile, artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT. The same is true of business respondents, many of whom also point to data analytics and cloud computing.


Sammy Zoghlami, SVP EMEA at Nutanix says, “Adoption of technologies such as IoT and AI play a critical role in creating a ‘Smart City’. IoT based solutions enable innovative use cases to enlighten smart cities and seamlessly integrate various city management systems. We are proud to be at the technological forefront of making smart cities smarter through Nutanix Xi IoT – a software-based solution that delivers AI-driven processing at the edge, simplifies operations and powers real time business insights. Nutanix is committed to helping cities modernise their datacentres and edge infrastructure, so IT can shift its focus from maintenance and operations to driving innovation.”

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