IDG Contributor Network: Building the smart city: 8 things that matter

What is a smart city? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Solutions providers will tell you it’s smart parking, smart lighting or anything to do with technology. City officials may tell you it’s about conducting city business online, such as searching records or applying for permits. City residents may tell you it’s the ease of getting around, or about crime reduction.

Everyone is right. A smart city, built properly, will have different value for different stakeholders. They may not even think of their city as a “smart” city. They know it only as a place they want to live in, work in, and be a part of.

Technology is top of mind in the smart city. But it is just one layer of many in the smart city ecosystem. Each layer has a different but equally important role. No one layer is more relevant than another. For example, technology “powers” the smart city, but it is data that leads to insights and new services. However, to create relevant services, cities must be able to innovate the right solutions. To get the right outcomes that matter consistently and at scale, civic leaders must establish sensible technology and data policies. Finally, savvy cities use public private partnerships (PPP) to maximize their resources, go faster and scale effectively.