So much has been said about smart cities in recent months that the term is threatening to lose some of its meaning. Yet despite some high-profile exceptions - Songdo in South Korea and now Dubai to name two - there are very few cities that can claim to be truly "smart" to the core. What we see at the moment are smart projects being deployed in an urban context, whether streetlights that assess traffic flows or smart energy grids that react instinctively to changes in demand.
But if we take the concept of the smart city to its logical conclusion, where you have an urban environment in which much of life’s daily grind is streamlined or fully automated, it becomes much more exciting – not just from the perspective of a resident, but for a city official too. Time-consuming bureaucratic processes could be eradicated, interactions between government departments could be improved and, perhaps most importantly, new streams of revenue could be tapped into.
The major obstacle facing us now is not the technology. It’s the data that this technology creates – more specifically, concerns around how we keep this data secure – that is hindering the rise of the smart city. It’s in this area that blockchain could provide the breakthrough that we need.
In this edition of Inside AB, Jeremy Lawrence and Eddie Taylor discuss the views of Michael Winterson, MD of Managed Services at Equinix, and his thought-provoking piece for Arabian Business on the potential and pitfalls of smart cities.
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(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)