The Four Pillars of a Smart City

The idea of a smart city has evolved well beyond implementing individual technologies for various departments to a much larger view of collaboration and integration. In other words, smart cities depend on multiple services working with a singular purpose on common objectives – with data being the foundation.

One of the challenges of making a truly smart city is that there’s no overall view of risk, no single responsible authority, and no unified funding that spans across public and private sector services and levels of government.

This is why re-thinking the planning process to have a more holistic approach to leveraging innovation is paramount. To achieve this level of planning and cross-department technology implementation, city leaders should consider these four pillars that make up a smart city.

  • Pillar #1 – Purpose-driven: Understand the underlying purpose and vision to focus on outcomes, not the technology. If the software limits what you can achieve, then it’s not a solution. Purpose should drive procurement.
  • Pillar #2 – Shared: Problems are shared, and don’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries, so information must be shared as well. But communication isn’t enough, easy collaboration around that information is also required.
  • Pillar #3 – Scalable: Consider what you need to achieve now and in the future. Deploy solutions that scale as your city’s needs increase across users, departments, organizations, and systems.
  • Pillar #4 – Sustainable: As rapid changes to technology are coupled with accelerated citizen demand, today’s smart city solutions must be capable of adapting quickly and cost-affordably.

In order to bring these pillars to life, cities need to embrace agile solutions that help break down departmental silos, enable collaboration and trust as well as work with existing infrastructure and systems to achieve the best possible outcomes for stakeholders and the ecosystem as a whole.

True smart cities can achieve connectivity between systems, collaboration between teams, and greater intelligence in operations, which leads to sustainable solutions and more accountable citizen services.

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