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Priorities and barriers of implementing smart city technology

Research also reveals that smart payments and finance is the technology area in which communities are most active

Budget limitations were cited as a top barrier by 42 per cent of respondents
Budget limitations were cited as a top barrier by 42 per cent of respondents

Survey respondents most frequently identified smart city activities as a medium priority

Larger communities generally rated smart city activities as a higher priority

Economic development was cited as the most important motivating factor for smart city initiatives

Ensuring citizens’ safety and security has been identified as the number one priority for city leaders when it comes to use of smart city technologies, a study in the US has revealed.


Half (49 per cent) of respondents to the survey of local governments conducted by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in partnership with the Smart Cities Council identified smart city technologies as their leading priority in the public safety sector. Yet the survey also found that smart payments and finance was the technology area in which responding communities were most active with three-fifths of respondents identifying initiatives in this area as actively deployed.


The other five technology areas with initiatives underway were: customer service/public engagement (40 per cent), energy (39 per cent), water and wastewater (38 per cent) and telecommunications (36 per cent).


The current status of smart city initiatives, procurement patterns, and motivators and barriers to the implementation of smart city technologies were just a few of the other topics explored.


Seven in 10 (69 per cent) of the responding jurisdictions reported that smart-city solutions would be implemented in their communities through a combination of systems or support from external consultants and systems operated and developed internally.


Among the benefits most frequently identified by responding communities as being very important in motivating their governments to implement or expand smart city initiatives included: economic development (44 per cent); capital and/or operational cost savings (43 per cent); resiliency for critical operations (43 per cent); enhanced services for residents (38 per cent); and safety and security benefits (37 per cent).


Meanwhile, budget limitations (42 per cent), the need for more internal capacity (21 per cent), and the need for more supporting infrastructure (15 per cent) were seen as the most significant barriers.


A quarter of responding communities (27 per cent) reported working with other communities to aggregate demand and increase purchasing power for smart city technologies while half indicated that they had not done this but would be interested in exploring it.


Two fifths (42 per cent) of communities reported being aware that they can generate revenue from the data they collect or have access to. When asked whether their community ever works with other cities or counties to aggregate demand and increase purchasing power for smart city technology, 27 per cent said yes, 24 per cent said no, and half (49 per cent) said that they were not currently doing so, but were interested in exploring opportunities.


Overall, survey respondents most frequently identified smart city activities as a medium priority (37 per cent) with larger communities generally rating smart city activities as a higher priority than smaller communities did.


Some 500 cities and counties with populations of 25,000 or greater responded to the survey, sharing their practices, programmes, and procurement activities relating to the use of information and communications technology to enhance livability, workability, and sustainability.


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