It has been awhile since governments have begun using information and communications technology solutions in areas such as security, health and urbanism.
The Smart Cities project aims to to create an innovation network between governments and academic partners leading to excellence in the domain of the development and take-up of e-services, setting a new baseline for e-service delivery in the North Sea region. From IT vendors, IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled the Smart Planet initiative, with lots of solutions addressed to several areas. Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) have ranking that shows networked and digital cities.
In its second edition, Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index ranked 25 of the world’s largest cities according to their ability to use ICT for social, economic and environmental benefits. The top three cities in the index — Seoul, Singapore and Stockholm — have successfully met many social, economic and environmental targets by making extensive investments in ICT, Ericsson noted.
The survey showed that Singapore is aggressively driving innovation in e-health and is a pioneer in traffic-congestion management. Seoul is using ICT to realize many environmental benefits from high-tech initiatives.
Cities in Brazil, Russia, India and China, such as São Paulo and Delhi, are putting initiatives in place to close the socioeconomic gap through multistakeholder ICT engagements, the index said.
In Delhi, for example, a multistakeholder project named Eko allows low-value financial transactions to be completed using mobile phones or through retail outlets, serving about 1.3 million customers.
The International Telecommunication Union has identified ICT as the 21st-century’s most valuable problem-solving tool, saying that technology also offers practical means of reducing carbon emissions. The institute argues that advanced technologies can transform social, industrial and business processes to effect the changes needed to achieve sustainability. However, ITU said that although the potential of ICTs is widely recognized by the technology community and government ICT ministries, it is still far from being understood and embraced by environmental lobby groups and policymakers.
The Motorola’s Digital Cities Ranking is a study developed by Convergencia Research to collect information on Latin American to determine their progress towards digitalization.
This year’s results included: Buenos Aires, Marcos Paz and Mercedes y Tigre in Argentina; Foz do Iguaçu, Itapema, Porto Alegre, São José Dos Campos and São Paulo in Brazil; Las Condes, Peñalolen, Puente Alto and San Bernardo in Chile; Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cartagena de Indias, Medellín and Pereira in Colombia; Chihuahua, Ciudad de México, Culiacán, Guadalajara, San Nicolás De Los Garza and Tuxtla Gutiérrez in México; and Los Olivos in Perú.
The study reviewed information from municipal governments on initiatives related to ITC adoption in public administration and other areas of government. The group of 25 cities was selected from the 220 cities recorded in Motorola’s Digital Cities Ranking, which classified cities as leaders, advanced, intermediate or initial. Being labeled a digital or smart city required digitization initiatives in areas such as public safety, health and education.
As an example of security initiatives, some cities are improving their surveillance camera systems. In November, Motorola announced a contract to integrate Atlanta’s disparate public and private camera systems into one common operational environment in a video integration center. Motorola’s Global Services organization is leading a team that includes ADT Commercial Security and Ciber Inc.
The project’s first phase, which includes upgrading the city’s existing cameras from analog to digital and from leased line to wireless backhaul, has been completed. ADT’s government services unit managed the installation of the wireless network and pan, tilt and zoom cameras in downtown Atlanta. With the completion of the project, the Atlanta Police Department aims to have the ability to observe incidents as they happen, identify suspicious activity and deploy law enforcement personnel more efficiently.