How the Spread of Smart Cities Will Help People

October 16, 2015 • Blog Post • By Quartz Creative

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Suparno Banerjee, who leads Hewlett Packard Enterprises Future Cities initiative, discusses the role of technology in helping cities become more livable
  • The public sector can better serve its citizens by using data insights to automate, coordinate and reduce costs of social services

Cities of tomorrow will use technology to better deliver social services

 

What worries city leaders most today?

 

Shocks. These shocks can come from many places ranging from traffic congestion to utility shortages. The major problems come from economic shock. Look at what's happened to Detroit and similar cities when industry moved away. You can also look at the recent incidents in Africa with the Ebola crisis. The ability of these cities to cope with these shocks and strains and then bounce back is very important.

 

Are there slower-moving issues that city governments are tracking?

 

People are living longer. More than 65 percent of population growth is occurring in the 65 and older age group. As people age and transportation becomes difficult, they want to live in places where public transit, health and social services are more readily available.

How are technologies converging to help cities preserve quality of life, despite outside forces?

 

I think the cities of tomorrow will have to use technology to better deliver services and create more livable spaces, whether through safer cities or improving the quality of water, food, air or green spaces. Similarly, technology will play a role in better resource utilization so that as resources become scarce, they can be rationed and used more efficiently. They also need to create more connected cities and more efficient ways of moving people, goods and information.

 

How does IT help make a city more efficient?

 

The more important thing is how efficiently scarce resources are used, and that's where cyber analytics come into play. What's happened to these shifting population bases? Where are the elderly living? What are the true needs of the demographic segment? Being able to understand the answers to these questions at a very granular level is critical for targeting corresponding services.

 

How do analytics from the entire city impact individuals?

 

For example, predicting traffic patterns allows for better point-to-point services. This is better utilization of scarce resources at the city level, and it relieves congestion. It's a really neat example of how advanced analytics can provide a better service and target service delivery so that cities can offer their services across various channels, whether though mobile phones or other devices.

 

What's the ultimate impact of having services delivered more intelligently?

 

Community engagement now becomes much more intimate. The city is receiving constant feedback from individuals - through one-on-one conversations as well as through analytics - that allows them to ask, "What are my citizens really thinking about? What issues are critical to them?"

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