Throughout history, people have flocked to cities to improve the quality of their lives. After all, cities are the engines of growth, the seats of power and hosts of many of the best-paid jobs. Today, this trend of urbanisation continues at an accelerating pace.
This migration to cities has been accompanied by the development of technology. What’s different now is that technology is transforming the city itself. Innovation in the city will improve life in the community. Governments and companies are harnessing the potential of new technologies to enhance standards of living. In essence, this is the concept of the ‘smart city’ 1.
A completely connected, fully intelligent city is still a way away, but governments are working with businesses to apply technology with great success. Improving lives through technology is a long-term exercise. The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills describes the establishment of smart cities as an ongoing process. It foresees smart cities of many parts, none of which can be achieved overnight – in its vision, increased citizen engagement, hard infrastructure, social capital and digital technologies make cities more livable, resilient and better able to respond to challenges 2.