Asian na­tions key to fu­ture smart cities

Shanghai Daily - - BUSINESS - Ding Yin­ing TECH­NOL­OGY

CHINA and other Asian coun­tries will play a ma­jor role in shap­ing the smart cities of the fu­ture thanks to high adop­tion of smart­phones and dig­i­tal ser­vices, a re­cent study by the McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute showed.

The study, which eval­u­ates tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture, the ap­pli­ca­tions in­tro­duced, and pub­lic adop­tion across 50 ma­jor cities, showed that al­though ac­tiv­ity and in­no­va­tion have been pick­ing up in re­cent years, there’s still huge po­ten­tial and room for im­prove­ment for even the most dig­i­tally ad­vanced cities.

The study pre­dicted that bet­ter use of data and tech­nol­ogy could shave 15 to 30 min­utes off av­er­age daily com­mut­ing times and cut emer­gency response times by up to 17 min­utes.

The world’s most de­vel­oped cities still lead in terms of con­struc­tion of un­der­ly­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture, such as fast com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works and open data por­tals for gov­ern­ment agen­cies to bet­ter share data with the pub­lic.

“With its young pop­u­la­tion of dig­i­tal na­tives and big ur­ban prob­lems to solve, China and the whole of the Asia re­gion will play a big role in shap­ing the fu­ture of smart cities,” said Ka­t­rina Lu, a part­ner in McKin­sey & Com­pany and the of­fice man­ager of McKin­sey in Shang­hai.

By gaug­ing how ur­ban res­i­dents feel about tech­nolo­gies be­ing de­ployed around them, the study also found that re­sponses were sur­pris­ingly luke­warm in Euro­pean and some other high-in­come cities, which is in con­trast to high lev­els of aware­ness and us­age in Chi­nese cities.

“In­te­grat­ing smart tech­nol­ogy into in­fra­struc­ture helps users and ser­vice providers make bet­ter de­ci­sions and re­duce in­ef­fi­cien­cies, and ul­ti­mately helps the pub­lic get the ser­vices they want, when and how they want them,” said Jonathan Woet­zel, a se­nior part­ner in McKin­sey’s Shang­hai of­fice and a direc­tor of the McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute.

The study also sug­gested that in some cases, build­ing a pub­lic plat­form where com­pa­nies, non­prof­its, and part­ner­ships form an ecosys­tem would be a wise move.

“Adding more play­ers from the pri­vate field to join smart city con­struc­tion is a pos­i­tive, since it in­creases adop­tion,” said Jeong­min Seong, se­nior fel­low of McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute.

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