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U.S. Cities Need the Private Sector's Help Cutting Red Tape Off Smart-City Initiatives

There are enormous growth opportunities for companies able to help cities break down barriers and establish best practices for the use of IoT technologies.
By Laetitia Gazel Anthoine
Aug 20, 2017

The National League of Cities (NLC) recently released its "Trends in Smart City Development" report that analyzes the progress five cities (four in the United States) have made in implementing smart-city technologies and services. The report paints an exciting picture of what the near future holds. The question now is how to turn those visions into reality. While these cities have the necessary foundations in place, they're lagging behind many others worldwide. These cities are already leveraging data collection and analysis to make clever uses of IoT technologies, and can serve as blueprints for American government officials and their private-sector partners.

The NLC report, which is available free of charge here, states smart-city initiatives must comprise three components to be successful:

1. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) that generate and aggregate data
2. Analytical tools which convert that data into usable information, and organizational structures that encourage collaboration and innovation
3. The application of that information to solve public problems

The NLC states that meeting these three criteria will enable cities to more quickly and effectively roll out technologies and services that will transform how people live, work and interact with one another.

For example, autonomous cars could turn traffic lights and congestion into just bad memories. Greater usage of shared vehicles—whether they're autonomous or not—will enable us to stop fighting about limited numbers of parking spaces on streets or below buildings or on streets. That will free up city planners to reclaim land for citizens by allowing developers to reduce the costs of buildings, since parking garages will become an unnecessary expense.

Security protocols like facial-recognition solutions would enhance security at buildings, schools, airports and other public spaces.

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