Thursday, 15 December 2011

How cities (and their utilities) are blowing it: New research reveals three failures

By Jesse Berst

Smart Grid, smart technologies, smart cities, smart city infrastructure, smart city data,
New research from an international consortium says the world's cities are failing their citizens by failing to capture the full value of infrastructure and data. Although the report's lessons apply to any kind of smart technology, they are directly relevant to the challenges and consumer pushback faced by many of today's smart grid efforts.
Smart Grid, smart technologies, smart cities, smart city infrastructure, smart city data,
“Our cities sit on vast untapped resources of data and infrastructure that could be integrated to accelerate the clean revolution while improving the convenience and quality of urban life,” said Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, one of the report's co-authors. The value of smart grid and other smart technologies are not being realized because of:
·         Too much "technology push" that does not create useful outcomes for residents
·         A lack of a framework for integrated technology, which results in fragmented and siloed projects
·         A lack of understanding of the social and financial paybacks
The report argues that cities (and, by extension, the utilities that serve them) must get better at two things. First, they must learn to fully understand the benefits of smart technology. And fully articulate those benefits to all stakeholders. “We need to reframe the... value proposition by measuring and articulating the full social, environmental and economic... return generated by city-wide initiatives,” said Simon Giles, global senior principal, Intelligent Cities, Accenture. “Only then can the private sector make the business case for participating. Only then can cities make the capital decisions that bring greatest value to citizens.”

Open data a necessity
Second, cities (and, by extension, their utilities) must make their data available to the market so developers can build applications on top. “By using the data from their
Smart Grid, smart technologies, smart cities, smart city infrastructure, smart city data,
digital infrastructure as a market creation asset, cities will be able to capture significantly more value from smart city ICT investments," said Catherine Mulligan, Transitional Fellow, Horizon Digital Economy Research. “In addition, developing new information marketplaces will help cities create new industries and achieve sustainable economic growth.”
As global competition intensifies, more and more cities will look to smart technology to pull ahead. This report will make valuable reading for utilities that want an advance look at the new demands and new pressures that will face them in the decades ahead.
The report, "Information Marketplaces: The New Economics of Cities" was published in partnership by Accenture, Arup, The Climate Group and Horizon Digital Economy Research.

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