Are you including smart city development in your criteria for your new office location? Well you should be. In a report the Centre for the Future of Work (CFoW) published earlier this year, The Futureproof City, it emerged that 43% of business leaders are looking to move offices to cities with a compelling smart city vision. Leaders identified that smart cities can operate as catalysts for productivity, efficiency and quality of life for workers.
Therefore, the smart city dialogue is now reaching the boardrooms of major organizations. But what characteristics of smart cities actually drive benefits to businesses? Ultimately, successful smart cities deliver value to organizations through variables that can be broadly categorised into Foundational Development and Tech-Enablement:
Laying the foundation
- Smart governance. Smart cities are based on your needs. Successful smart cities are governed by the requirements of their stakeholders. Therefore, urban leaders must factor in the expectations of local citizens and businesses to ensure alignment and buy in.
- Smart economy. With digital technology, industrial sectors, global linkages, and customer behaviours in a state of flux, smart cities need to, and are, replacing old economic models built on single industries or skill sets that are no longer relevant. Smart city economies are delivering an economic environment that attracts business and investment, fosters industry development, promotes e-commerce, and creates local and global trade linkages.
- Smart infrastructure. Connected, and therefore well maintained, buildings, roads, electricity grids, sewerage, telecommunications and water systems facilitate efficiency of movement and uninterrupted work in smart cities.
- Smart talent is the lifeblood of organizations, yet many cities are not doing enough to nurture the workers and skills needed for the digital age. While there is not a single formula to attract and retain talent, the most successful smart cities have built urban centres that cultivate academic partnerships, develop vibrant technology sectors, encourage entrepreneurs, and create a local cultural hub that attracts creative talent.
The technology core
- Smart mobility. Smart cities are driving improved transport solutions by pioneering transportation innovations such as ride-sharing, bike- and car-sharing, smart transit systems, real-time transit mobile apps, smart traffic signals and smart parking.
- Smart environment. Improving environmental sustainability, energy use, and resource allocation through innovative solutions are the top priorities of smart city planners. With the top 30 organizations in the UK pledging to reduce emissions, tying location strategy to this green endeavour makes sense.
- Smart environment. Low crime rates in your office location are vital to attract and retain talent. Fortunately, 45% of smart cities view reducing crime rates and improving public safety as a core issue. Technologies they are exploring to deliver on this include big data and AI, predictive policing, drones, acoustic sensors, body cameras, and smart street signals and sensors.
- Smart public health. Smart cities are working with healthcare providers to promote the use of latest technologies, such as wearable sensors that monitor an individual’s physical activity and health, telemedicine that allows doctors to treat patients remotely, and street sensors that track air quality and pollution.
- Smart payment systems. Digital payment systems—including debit/credit cards, electronic bill payment and mobile apps—eliminate the need for cash, enabling businesses and residents to maximize the value from smart city solutions. More intensive use of smart payments will help business reduce costs and can have significant benefits for government, improving transparency for stakeholders and enabling government to strengthen financial controls, minimize fraud, and increase revenue.
Ultimately, organizations are set to benefit from migration to smart cities, and the benefits expand into numerous areas that as whole create a compelling argument for a move to one of these emerging smart hubs. To understand where these cities are emerging and the tech enablement that is driving them download our report, Smarter Cities 2025