Openness at the centre of Nokia’s smart city playbook for success

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Smart city practitioners should be as open and transparent with data as possible in order to succeed, new research commissioned by Nokia has claimed.

The Smart City Playbook, which was written by Machina Research, explored 22 smart cities around the world and found three models of deployment.

The first is "anchor", which involves a single application being rolled out to deal with a problem such as heavy traffic. Additional applications are then implemented over a period of time.

A "platform" route involves the construction of an underlying foundation that can support a wide range of different use cases.

Meanwhile, "Beta Cities" is a school of thought that involves the deployment of multiple pilots before long-term deployment decisions are made.

Researchers found that there were commonalities among successful smart city projects, regardless of the deployment model. Government departments and third parties had established "open and transparent" rules on data usage, whether that information is shared freely or monetised.

Advanced smart cities were making their information and communications technology, as well as Internet of Things infrastructure, available to public and private bodies. They have also avoided the creation of silos between government departments.

Consumer engagement has also been a common factor of successful smart cities, especially when it comes to services which has high public visibility like smart lighting or parking.

Infrastructure needs to be scalable and secure, as well as open and avoid vendor lock-in.

Jeremy Green, Principal Analyst at Machina Research and author of the Smart City Playbook, said: "No one said becoming a smart city would be easy. There are lots of choices to be made. The technology and the business models are evolving rapidly, so there are many degrees of uncertainty. Standards are emerging but are by no means finalised.

"So there is no 'royal road' to smartness. But there is a right way to travel - with your eyes open, with realistic expectations, and with a willingness to learn from others. That includes other cities that might face the same problems as you, even if in a different context. It includes the suppliers, who may have learned from their experiences elsewhere, including in other verticals. It includes start-ups, who can be great innovators; and most of all, it includes the city's own inhabitants, who are your real partners for the journey."

Osvaldo Di Campli, Head of Global Enterprise & Public Sector, Nokia, said: "The process of making a city smart is extremely complex, and there are so many different strategies being put forward in the market that choosing the right path for your city can be an enormous challenge. Our goal in commissioning this report by Machina Research was to cut through the clutter and identify strategies that are clearly working for cities."