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Street Smart

Trust, innovation, and data are the keys to the smart city of tomorrow

People around the world are unhappy with the city life and the many social, environmental, and infrastructure challenges it brings. Smart cities offer solutions to many of these challenges. But what, exactly, do citizens hope for and want from a smart city? And what stands in the way? Finally, what can cities do to accelerate implementation and keep their citizens from leaving? We wanted to find out.

In the latest report from the Capgemini Research Institute – Street smart: Putting the citizen at the center of smart city initiatives – we surveyed 10,000 citizens across 10 countries in April 2020, looking at the challenges they face and their willingness to use smart city initiatives. We also spoke with 300 city officials about their views on smart city initiatives and the challenges of implementation, interviewing a number of senior city officials to get their perspectives on smart city implementation. We found that:

  • The city life isn’t easy – In fact, one in three city dwellers wants to leave their city due challenges they face living there.
  • Smart city initiatives benefit cities and attract citizens – close to 60% of citizens believe smart cities equal sustainability and better services.
  • Smart city programs should focus on key use cases – especially when it comes to utilities, transport and mobility, citizens are eager to use them and willing to pay more for them.
  • Progress is slow – a mere 22% of city officials have just begun implementing a handful of initiatives.

To set the ball rolling with smart city initiatives, city officials and citizens should work with startups, academic institutes, and venture capital funds with a focus on trust, innovation, and data as the key drivers. Such collaboration should strive to create a compelling smart city vision based on sustainability and resilience. It should turn city officials into entrepreneurs while ensuring that data protection and trust are built into how citizen data is gathered and used. Finally, a culture of innovation and collaboration with citizens and external entities will also be key.

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