"... it's got to be about 'a better place to work and live' not 'we've got some cool traffic lights that can talk to your car and tell it to turn off the engine to save fuel' - throwing technology at it doesn't work for the people living there."
PETER ELLIOTT SMART CITIES CONSULTING, PA CONSULTING GROUP
Peter Elliott, smart cities expert at PA Consulting Group, has given his views to the Financial Times on how to develop a smart city, in an article dedicated to PA and its work on smart cities. The article looks at how developers of greenfield cities must build and own their network and treat it as an asset, rather than viewing it as a problem for others to solve and make money from.
Peter talks about his work with Orange, as an example of how developers should view smart technology: "At Orange, it was not about the phone - it was 'how can we make your life better'. My position is the same on smart cities, it's got to be about 'a better place to work and live' not 'we've got some cool traffic lights that can talk to your car and tell it to turn off the engine to save fuel' - throwing technology at it doesn't work for the people living there."
Peter goes on to comment that planners should view a new city's fibre-optic network as an opportunity, rather than outsourcing: "If you build a network into a city as it is being developed, you can save about 50 per cent of the cost, and when you're talking hundreds of million of dollars that's a large amount."
PA’s work with the planners of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia is also given as an example of how planners can build and own the network and treat it as an asset. PA is advising KAEC's planners on what services to offer over the network: "The business case is compelling, and it gets more compelling the more you move up the 'service stack'. [City] developers should stay away from retail services, as they are not set up to deal with hundreds of thousands of customers and the telcos are, but they should do everything up to that level, because there is a lot of money to be made."
Peter points out that existing cities can learn from the experience of KAEC: "I tell my European clients that this is a template. For you, the road will be a lot more complicated, but it's where you should be trying to go."
You can read the article in full here.