Most City Officials Believe In But Don’t Understand Transformational Concept of ‘SMART CITY’

More than 90 percent of recently surveyed government and municipal respondents said they view smart city initiatives as transformational with the potential for long-term positive impacts on cities globally. Yet, more than half of respondents say their organization does not really understand the smart city concept. What makes a smart city, how are they planned, and perhaps most importantly, how are they funded?

Despite clearly understanding the value of smart cities initiatives, a recent Black & Veatch survey finds respondents are losing faith the transition can happen quickly. Last year, the study found that nearly 1 in 5 thought the smart cities model would be widespread in American cities within the next five years. This year, not even 1 in 10 believe that timeline is achievable.

Instead, more than a third now believe the implementation could take a decade. Nearly a quarter believe it could take 15 years. More than 80% believe the U.S. is lagging the world in the smart cities revolution.

What’s holding them back
Part of the problem may be a big knowledge gap. While people responding to the survey say they understand the potential, more than half say their city still doesn’t understand what it means to be a “smart city.”

And while half the cities and utilities are assessing their readiness — a third are even working on roadmaps — nearly two-thirds still don’t understand where the payoff point is. That may be adding to the money woes.

Money is always an issue, and a lack of funding was clearly visible in the study. Nearly 70% said their smart cities initiatives were hindered by budget constraints. Nearly half said a lack of resources and expertise also held them back.

Connectivity and regulations too
If your city does not have a reliable, high-speed data network, you need to seriously consider building one. Most of the respondents identified that as the number one need.

Utilities are also very concerned about the regulatory environment in their cities. More than anything, they see regulatory issues as being the biggest barrier to their modernization goals. More than 20% citied the regulatory environment as a problem — more than twice as many as cited any other issue, including cybersecurity threats and the ability to hire qualified personnel.

republished from Smart Cities Council article written by Doug Peeples (@dougpeeples)

Follow Barbara Thornton @AssetStewards
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