by John David, CEO, Amnick
How combining city leaders, mayors, universities and tech companies with municipal authorities and SMEs is leading to faster solutions.
Smart cities are starting to make a positive impact on economic development around the world. This is resulting in cities that are cleaner, greener, more vibrant and more efficient. With technology at the heart of these changes, it really makes sense to work in collaborative manner, rather than to go it alone working in silos.
Last year a colleague told me he had learned that the government had offered millions of pounds of funding to city authorities across the UK, to develop accelerator and demonstrator projects. He visited each of these to enquire if he could buy any solutions they have developed and scale them up in his city. Sadly, the answer was no – despite all the investment, there was nothing tangible that was worth scaling up.
This led me to commission Amnick’s own research in the area in collaboration with 116 local authorities across the UK. I wanted to know how many authorities had started their digital journeys. What were they working on with their accelerator/demonstrator projects? Where was the funding coming from? How much were they investing? Were they having resource issues? What were they winning with, and what was causing difficulties?
We found that there was tremendous amount of duplication, replication and wastage in the development of technology. And as a result, we have now developed our own International Collaboration Team, made up of city leaders, mayors, universities and tech companies, as well as public, private and third-sector organisations from across the world.
Our work focuses on key city challenges such as:
• Digital exclusion in New Orleans, where nearly 33 per cent lack Internet at home and 21 per cent don’t have a computer. This means nearly 150,000 people do not have access to news, information, education services, job applications and other things requiring an online connection.
• How to join up smaller cities to benefit from economies of scale for smart city projects and programmes
• How to make local places smarter to create local positive economic impact
• How to prepare for 5G
Over three months creating formal project boards, setting up these projects and supporting their delivery, progress has been encouraging. And with nearly 150 authorities and organisations as members, we are now seeing amazing opportunities to help business leaders create smart cities through collaboration.
To make technology solutions viable, we are also adding a commercial focus to all organisations to add value to their bottom lines. For city leaders and mayors, this means:
•Providing consultancy to other cities and organisations
• Developing research-based projects
• Collaboratively seeking funding for projects
• Smaller cities become living labs
• Amnick will create regionalised events for smaller cities in the US (with support from Seat Pleasant, the City of Aurora, the City of Cary, New Orleans and others)
Information on our International Collaboration Team can be found at our website, or in the following information packs: