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Building A Smart City? 10 Big Priorities Government Leaders Should Focus On

The internet of things (IoT) has given rise to the smart home and smart office, with automated, internet-controlled devices like thermostats, security systems and connected home speakers. Now, urban areas around the world are investing in IoT to create smart cities, which are designed to improve efficiency and quality of life through data and technology.

Statista reports that global smart city spending will reach $34.35 billion, more than double the 2015 spending of $14.85 billion. With so many potential areas for improvement through smart technology, government leaders need to prioritize the projects that will do the most good. Here's what Forbes Technology Council members believe up-and-coming smart cities need to focus on with their tech investments

1. Transportation

Smart roads that are prepared for autonomous vehicles, self-driving car traffic systems integration and mass transit incorporation into these systems -- smart cities need to focus on people movement and attempt to maximize those efficiencies. - Michael Trachtenberg, Maureen Data Systems

2. Storm Drains

Water runoff is one of the most important things a city can focus on. Not only does it directly impact its local drinking water, it impacts the experience within a city during times of poor weather. Focusing on smart drainage systems and filtration, cities could drastically improve the local living conditions. - Tom Roberto, Core Technology


3. IoT Lighting Control Systems

We suggest starting with smart lighting control systems, which reduces energy consumption, carbon emissions and maintenance costs while providing a safe environment for patrons with smart sensing technology and real-time data. Lighting control systems serve as a smart foundation for the development of a smart city with things like air quality, smart waste, mobility solutions and more to follow. - Kurt Dykema, Twisthink

4. Sustainable Energy

The "smarter" we go, the more energy we consume, so we need to focus on sustainable sources of energy. For example, cities can pave the roads with some kind of material that converts solar energy into electricity. Automobiles can be equipped with solar panels on the roof. There are already some companies working on windmills that would be perfect for urban environments. - Vikram Joshi, pulsd

5. Universal High-Speed Internet

The larger the city, the more likely they are to have a solid high-speed internet. Unfortunately, this isn't true of every place, and due to economic disparities, lower-income areas are becoming increasingly separated in capabilities from their higher-income counterparts. Internet for all, regardless of income, is achievable through law, and government leaders should help make this a reality. - David Isaac Murray,

6. Affordability And Safety

Creating cities that are affordable and safe should be the key priorities. Some of the biggest U.S. cities are suffering from high levels of homelessness. If our technologies are so advanced that they can power nations and send rockets to space and back, why can't we build simple shelters for those in need? - Winnie Cheng, Io-Tahoe LLC

7. Integration And Partnerships With Tech Companies

This is the time where city leaders need to know how and where to integrate functions and processes in order to add the best technology. It also helps this initiative if more cities partner with tech companies to get advice and platforms to facilitate the best possible migration to smart city status. - Chalmers Brown, Due

8. Prioritizing Areas Of Change

Governments will have to migrate to a smart city in a step-wise fashion so they need to prioritize those areas that start the process and then go from there through every aspect that must be integrated and changed. It's important to look at short-term changes and effects as well as the overall long-term development process. - Muhammed Othman, Calendar

9. Data Security

The most important aspect to consider is security. Smart cities rely on constant connectivity to volumes of data from stationary and moving sensors which is transformed into useful information using data analytics to provide a better quality of life. Failure to secure this data and having it put into the wrong people’s hands can cause extreme damage and lead to catastrophic events. - Alexandro Pando, Xyrupt

10. Avoiding Silos

Government leaders need to carefully choose technology partners that will ensure a strict policy of no silos. Selected technologies, platforms, ecosystems and processes must coexist in a way that their sum is greater than the individual parts. Data must flow naturally from devices and platforms in a way that services and applications can easily be deployed and managed. - Leon Hounshell, Greenwave Systems

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