Can you name them? The term “smart cities” is a bit ambiguous. To me, it means the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to deliver services to citizens, ultimately, increasing quality of life. Based on the Innovation Cities Index, here are the top 10 smart cities in the world to date
Vienna was the only city that ranked in the top 10 in every category in the Innovation cities Index. It is well ahead of the pack in establishing brave smart-city targets and tracking their progress, in particular with programs like the Smart Energy Vision 2050, Roadmap 2020, and Action Plan 2012-2015. Ideas and vision are one thing but incorporating these concepts from planning stage, engaging stakeholders on every platform, means Vienna is leading the way for smart city technologies.
The highest rated smart city in North America, Toronto scores quite well across the board. The big names in Technology recognise this too – IBM recently opened a Business Analytics Solutions Center in the city and Toronto is also an active member of C40 megacities. There are also private sector initiatives like Smart Commute Toronto which have been launched to help the city’s transport efficiency.
Another European city representing connectivity to counterparts. Paris was highly rated in several categories including innovation, green cities in Europe, and digital governance. Paris was already on the world map for its highly successful bike sharing program, Velib, and it is following up this success with a similar scheme for Electric Vehicles (EVs).
4.) New York
New York scored higher than most other cities in the ranking in all of the categories. New York partnered with IBM in 2009 to launch the IBM Business Analytics Solution Center to address “the growing demand for the complex capabilities needed to build smarter cities and help clients optimize all manner of business processes and business decisions.” This has resulted in helping the city prevent fires and protect first responders as well as identify questionable tax refund claims—a move that is expected to save the city about $100 million over a five-year period.
Home to the HQ of Ericsson, pioneers of the ‘Networked Society’, Stockholm scores highly on the Innovation Cities Index for obvious reasons; it has a long track record of focused initiatives to drive the progress of ICT infrastructure. The city has a large service sector which accounts for roughly 85 percent of all jobs, and in combination with the near total absence of heavy industry, makes Stockholm one of the world’s cleanest metro areas. Stockholm was also the first city in the world to introduce 4G/LTE mobile services.
The UK capital also scored relatively high across the board. London has been well-recognized for some of its sustainability innovations i.e. congestion tax and its robust transport system. The city is home to Smart Cities research center housed at Imperial College, which focuses on initiatives in hope of making the city more efficient and innovative. And most conveniently for its citizens London has also announced a partnership with O2 to launch the largest free Wi-Fi network in Europe.
Tokyo is the first Asian city on this list, scoring well in both the innovation and digital city categories. In 2011, the city announced plans to create a smart town in the suburbs. In partnership with Panasonic, Accenture, and Tokyo Gas, the eco-burb will contain homes that integrate solar panels, storage batteries, and energy efficient appliances all connected to a smart grid. Tokyo is also focused on promoting smart mobility solutions.
Berlin also performs well across the board, with good scores in innovation and green-ness. One of the most interesting initiatives Berlin has focused on a collaboration with BMW. Together, they are testing out vehicle-to-grid (V2G)technologies in the hopes of creating a virtual power plant from electric vehicles.
9.) Hong Kong
Hong Kong scored quite well in key areas, Hong Kong is experimenting with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in its airport, as well as throughout the agriculture supply chain. The city has also been a leader in the adoption of smart cards, which are already used by millions of residents for services like public transit, library access, building access, shopping, and car parks.
The future of our cities…
Barcelona was recently ranked the number two smart city in Spain in the IDC report. The city is a pioneer in smart city and low-carbon solutions. It was among the first in the world to introduce a solar thermal ordinance about a decade ago. It recently launched the LIVE EV project to promote the adoption of EVs and charging infrastructure, and the city also recently announced a major partnership to develop a living lab for smart-city innovation.
This list is sure to evolve; expect smart cities to become a sizable market, with projections of nearly $40 billion spent on smart-city technologies by 2016.
It is also assumed that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2020. The idea of so many people living in such close proximity is a prospect much easier to envision if most cities are moving towards being truly connected.
Does your city make the top ten or have you noticed your city using Technology?