Today, one calls a Smart City a place where traditional services and networks are made more efficient by the use of new technologies for transportation, communication, organisation, environment, economy and business.
The Capitals Of Innovation
The European capital of innovation award was launched in 2014 as part of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme covering the period from 2014 to the year 2020. The first winner of the award was the Spanish city of Barcelona, where public and social services were made more transparent, for example, through the introduction of an online appointment system for meeting civil servants.
In 2016, the competition spread through Europe as 36 cities from 12 different countries applied in 2016 to succeed Barcelona with important positive results for the inhabitants of the countries involved. Amsterdam was declared the winner, due to its “holistic vision of innovation related to four areas of urban life: governance, economics, social inclusion and quality of life.”
Innovation has become a crucial success factor not only in private matters but also in public life. Smarter, greener, more efficient cities can lead to an easier life, bringing subsequent positive consequences to other aspects of a citizen’s life, with radical changes in transportation, bureaucracy, criminality, pollution, and general higher efficiency. Private businesses would surely benefit from an environment like the one described above, recognisable as the beginning of a new era.
The Markets To Watch
Admittedly, the constant acceleration of the urban and metropolitan system is creating competitive niches which could and will evolve to significant markets in a relatively short period. Looking at energy, for example – a renewable energy provider is currently likely struggling to build and maintain competitive advantages, due to the fight with the oil and gas businesses, but tomorrow it will probably lead the market as the world runs out of hydrocarbons.
Providing energy sources and supplies is the right way to invest and enter the market (for example, electrical means of transportation are quickly spreading through the big cities), and at the same time the perfect strategy to distribute business hotspots, due to synergies in advertisements, services and logistics.
At the same time, communications have widely evolved in the last decades, and they keep evolving and transforming at an impressive pace: connections are becoming stronger and thicker since more and more services are being offered and performed through those links. Talking about the environmental businesses, one can identify another potentially game-changing way to do business: growing populations have an impellent need and will to protect and preserve the planet in many different ways.
Healthcare is moving towards digitalisation, and so are bureaucracy and administration. Mobility is transforming (in some areas of Dubai one can already find self-driving taxis and cars) and will be just unrecognisable in a few years. These are only a few (and the most intuitive) roads to take to invest in innovation, but this radical technological evolution is leading to the birth of many, original, interesting ways to do business.