Whoever the lucky few people are around the world, tasked with building our future smart cities, they have a lot of questions to answer.
Some are big questions, like “what is smartness?”, “how do we wire up our clunky old city?” and so on.
Others range from the mundane to the exciting, such as “who builds and owns the data centers we need?”, “who can we share that data with?” and “how do we make it hacker proof?”
Making money with the future?
But one question is proving particularly sticky, “how do we make money out of this?” Most metropolitan areas have very capitalist notions about the idea of a smart city, beyond just more efficient public transport, better management of private cars and less pollution.
It looks like the early adopters of smart city technology are following the sharing economy model when it comes to monetization. Cities can make money by sharing data with businesses or create new services that are revenue generators.
Future cities to become more like a business?
Smart cities, led by world leaders like San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea, keenly followed by the likes of Singapore and others are seeing how the likes of Uber and Airbnb work, and are applying those models to their own services.
They can rent out unused, or rarely used, council or local government office space, meeting rooms and conference facilities to businesses. Empty council employee car parks after office hours can be rented to in-town residents to help cope with parking shortages and so on.
Using apps and resident/business data, governments can best leverage their knowledge to provide these and other services.
Similarly, local WiFi and information services can be supplied for modest charges to help fill in data black holes, and to connect more users to city services. Smart cities are going places fast, let us know how your town is keeping up.
I’ve been writing about technology. PCs and mobile for over 10 years, covering news, tutorials, reviews, comparisons and other pieces across magazines and websites.