Smart Cities: Is the West lagging behind India and the Arab states?
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Smart Cities: Is the West lagging behind India and the Arab states?

The ‘Smart Cities’ concept has been around for many years, and although it hasn’t found its way onto Gartner’s 2018 Hype Cycle, it is still a topic that divides many on whether there’s more hype than substance.

What’s different to other technology trends, is that the success of the concept is down to the region or specific city that it is in, and everything that goes along with that. And some believe this can make or break a smart city project.


Smart projects require commitment

HPE Fellow Colin l’Anson believes the likes of Arab states and India are better equipped than Western Europe, the UK and the US to produce smart cities. “If you sign up for a smart project, you’re signing a cheque for 10 years which means you have to look after it, keep it going, maintain the [smart] dustbins and traffic lights and everything else for 10 years – and it’s a much more difficult purchase for someone in Western Europe given the nature of local authorities, rather than the Gulf, where the Sheikh who runs the city says ‘I’m going to do this’,” he explains.

According to l’Anson, local authority leaders in the UK are likely to keep changing and with that means a shift in priorities – meaning smart city projects are not maintained and therefore don’t provide the long-term benefits they were set out to achieve in the first place. Instead, in the Western regions, he sees small solutions put in place which are effective, but not what he would describe as a ‘real’ smart city solution.

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Sooraj Shah

Sooraj Shah is a freelance technology journalist whose key focus is on how IT leaders are transforming their organisations using emerging technology. 

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