The ecosystem concept, once confined to its biological origins, has found new life in the smart city.
When natural systems begin to evolve, there is at first low diversity and complexity. Over time, diversity expands, system interactions get more complex, and cooperation is necessary to ensure the success of the community.
Similarly, early smart city programs consisted of a limited number of participants and technologies. Many were top-down efforts that emphasized using technology to help city systems operate more efficiently. Over time, communications networks and the Internet of Things (“IOT”) expanded connectivity across sectors, assets and citizens. Accordingly, the range of smart solutions and participants has skyrocketed, and smart city silos are giving way to collaborative arrangements across sectors, solution providers, stakeholder groups and infrastructure assets.
The “smarting” of utilities and cities is underway. However, many in the industry would stamp our smart city progress thus far as meh, even though the foundational technical elements are in place.
Like the Industrial Revolution, an economic and social inflection point is taking place because of technology – but this time it’s digital technology.
All too often, Smart City efforts focus on systems and technologies designed for top-down efficiency without fully integrating the perspectives of the people whose lives will be impacted.
The Second Machine Age is synonymous with Smart Planet Big Data and Big Math, which enables solutions to become more encompassing and optimal as they become more holistic in nature.