The importance of the role of citizens in Smart Cities

The importance of the role of citizens in Smart Cities

In recent times, a new line of thought is opening up for which the digital transformation must lead to a change in the mentality of the workforce. In this line, a large part of the headlines on this process are being concentrated, as opposed to those of a more technical profile that are usually seen. In a similar way it happens with smart cities. Smart cities are spaces where technology plays a key role; However, having the knowledge and support of the public is critical for the facilities to function at full capacity and with total success.

This is what the Gartner consultancy says, for which the initiatives in the field of intelligent localities should no longer only go through purely technological projects, such as traffic management, parking or lighting. «The road to follow today is a bottom-up, community-oriented approach, where citizens are an integral part of the design and development of smart cities,» explains Bettina Tratz-Ryan, vice president of research at Gartner, «and now not a top-down policy, with city leaders focusing only on technology platforms. » That is to say: not only betting on smart cities, but also on smart citizens, who, beyond knowing the functioning of certain technologies, maintain a fluid dialogue with the managers of the locality.

A relationship similar to that of companies that have good user experience indexes, or that of companies in the process of digital transformation, that seek to keep their employees in step with new trends. This is not to the detriment of technological progress: while those responsible for the evolution of localities seek to involve citizens in their development and know their impressions, companies continue their work to facilitate this process.

For example, in the last MWC some of the advances of HPE in this field could be known, that will collaborate with the Indian city of Bhopal in the development of the first integrated center of control based on the cloud. An end-to-end solution that allows the control and administration of services of the city, and even of other localities of the same region, the state of Madhya Pradesh. This will allow cost savings, as opposed to individual deployment, with the same response for users.

For Gartner, the usefulness of this type of tools goes hand in hand with IT managers in local governments knowing how to involve citizens. For this, it proposes a small guide of good practices for those responsible, which is summarized in four points. On the one hand, they have to identify and prioritize the problems of the inhabitants of the locality and apply the technology in their resolution. They should also be aware of the digital divide and include citizens with lower tech skills. In addition, they need to have an important transparency policy that guarantees access to any person or organization that wishes it to their tools. Finally, measures and performance indicators should be used to assess the progress of the smart city and detect priorities and needs.