Rebuilding Smart Cities


In reality for Smart Cities to work they require smart roads, railways, power grids and buildings. Sadly they also require smart politicians, smart government and to a lesser extent smart citizens,  so the concept was doomed from day one.

You can think of smart cities as a series of PR stunts. Consider them as siloed science experiments bogged down by cumbersome city administration, distributed budgets and a revolving door of decision makers. As a result, most lack meaningful  success metrics, whilst their considerable costs are hidden in the financial fog of public budgetary procedure.

We must now consider the debilitating impact on city funding of Corvid and the foundations of traditional smart city projects are weakened.

We need to focus. 

From a commercial stand point, IoT has to evolve from cobbled together technical spaghetti to ‘out-of-the box’ service solutions. Above all, these solutions must simplify IoT device deployment and management whilst offering board level ROI metrics/analytics..

Root cause

Some say the origins of the science experiment lie with the IoT device manufacturers, who like many before them fell into the enticing web of the Public Cloud providers. Moving development compute to the cloud make sense, however creating a device specific, internet accessible, single portal, customer experience is another thing altogether.

The management, blinded by Cloud ROI sales patter, assumed engineering guru’s honed on widget development could seamlessly transition to the complex world of cloud services. Consider elements like Message ingestion, Encrypted communications and CRM integration, with a smattering of Java code and end-user portal constructions.

Alas failure ensued, along with decreased customer experience, and spiralling cloud costs.

Services providers within the IoT space suffered a similar fate. Here the challenge was to aggregate numerous siloed device services into one operational platform. Once constructed they should offer both day-to-day management activities and board level business analytics.  One could question if such organisations had the internal skillsets to achieve this?

IoT Services Platforms

Today, emerging Edge Compute software companies offer simple, out-of-the-box service platforms configurable to specific business needs.

All major IoT protocols are catered for.

Message ingestion and analysis is automated and scales appropriately.

Customer portals can be crafted from simple templates whilst application development utilises existing functionality to vastly reduce time-to-market and costs.

Finally, interoperability with upstream software like CRM and services like public cloud, enables integration into existing operational models.

In both cases you can focus corporate resources on core business, avoid unwanted costs and deliver improved customer experience.

The science experiments are over and it is time to unleash the true potential of IoT.

Rather than build smart cities, build smart services and deploy as and when appropriate for the right reasons.