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Digital cities are increasingly seen as areas of open innovation
Smart Cities

IDATE has just released its report "Smart Cities: Digital technology behind the smart city". Smart cities, and the digital technology behind them, hold much promise and offer interesting opportunities for new markets, services and practices to the cities’ stakeholders. Using a broad range of digital project models of various scales and exploring the different themes surrounding smart cities, this report looks at the issues facing urban centers that are increasingly seen as areas of open innovation.

The precise contours of the smart city concept are still unclear. They are inextricably linked to the stakeholders who drive it (local authorities, IT companies, equipment manufactures…). Whatever the approach or chosen theme(s), digital technology plays an essential structuring role in developing services and applications, and in consumption habits, by combining three complementary and interconnected layers: physical architecture, information system(s) and applications.

If consensus seems to point toward unification of the city's information systems to ensure an efficient and interoperable technical backbone, then achieving this will undoubtedly involve just as much technical consideration (migration of existing systems) as organizational (partnerships to be defined) and economic (economic model to be built). Despite the complexity that such change and transformation will always entail, smart cities offer some very promising possibilities for the future. The report is based on the analysis of many examples of projects conducted at various scales and on all themes related to the smart city, grouped into five areas of applications that cover all of a smart city's needs:
  • Smart governance: modernization of city administration, public involvement, open data
  • Smart environment: optimize the management of energy, water and waste.
  • Smart mobility: help relieve congestion, encourage users to use their own cars less and upgrade existing transport infrastructure.
  • Smart economy: implement economic strategies based around digital technology to attract the sector's leading businesses.
  • Smart people: use digital technologies to improve living conditions in cities, in areas such as health, culture and education, tourism and cultural heritage.

For Philippe Baudouin, Project manager for this report, "While Smart cities are still very much in the pioneer phase, the multiplication of major projects enables us to draw lessons and identify avenues for future projects". The concept is sometimes promoted by institutions and sometimes by industry but always based on partnerships to build a wide range of services aimed at a market which is still largely unquantified, in which cities have not yet fully structured their needs, while citizens are increasingly becoming direct players.

Director of Studies - Head of Digital Plan Practice

> Executive seminar "Smart Cities & Digital Living" within the frame of the DigiWorld Summit 2012 – 14 November 2012

> Visit our blog to read the full article.



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