ClearWorld May 2018 - Page 9

This could be followed by a capital investment plan to implement additional infrastructure and services. Several discussions highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships to fund technology investment and provide ways for entrepreneurs to build new services atop the smart cities platform.

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The Smart City: Challenges

Although opportunities abound in the smart cities movement, the iMasons Think Tank dug into the many challenges, and how they might be addressed.

The economics of developing smart cities was a hot topic, among the various challenges discussed.

Another major barrier may be political. Creating and implementing a smart cities strategy will require political will and a paradigm shift, participants noted. Meanwhile, America’s recent track record on infrastructure investment is mixed at best. Smart cities will require major investment in technical infrastructure. Local officials will need to sort out how to fund these projects, and the benefits of sharing resources versus owning them.

There was a strong consensus among iMasons that successful smart cities will embrace standardization, which is currently a challenge in the Internet of Things ecosystem. Participants cited the need for defined standards, a common data exchange mechanism, and an open framework and APIs.

One of the areas of greatest concern with the Internet of Things – and hence smart cities – is security. A smart cities strategy enables new services and greater connectedness, but also has the potential to expose more IT and municipal resources to cyberattacks. iMasons said these systems will require strict authentication and access control.

Privacy issues will also come to the fore in wired cities, several participants predicted, particularly in public/private partnerships where data will be shared to optimize services. Some business models for smart cities envision new services being supported by advertising (already a common feature of most cityscapes).

Cities should also have plans for how to handle the inevitable snafus that happen in large IT projects. iMasons participants said the political backlash could be more significant with smart cities projects, especially with controversies regarding security.