Smart Cities Need Smarter Business Models

By Sophie Curtis on December 01, 2014

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Larissa Suzuki is a PhD Candidate in Software Systems Engineering at University College London and DCE Imperial College London. Her research aims at contributing to a growing body of knowledge in smart cities and urban data management. 

At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, Larissa will discuss the architectural design, business models and value chain for ultra‐large and highly interconnected systems which have the power to orchestrate people, technology, and organizations into socio-technical ecosystems that remain, even on large scale, flexible and innovative.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

The greatest opportunity we see is the realisation of platforms which will have the power to orchestrate people, technology, and organizations into a smart city ecosystem that remain, even on large scale, flexible and innovative. As there is no blue print for smart cities yet, cities wishing to become smart cities will need to create integrated plans with other cities and learn from their previous initiatives and results, instead of creating plans from scratch and in isolation. This would help cities to work together towards a common goal, which would be of benefit to the creation of interoperable cities which uses and re-use existing common standards and regulations. The participation of businesses, government, universities and the community in the creation of smart cities plans has the potential to ensure cities to overcome the barriers of growth and innovation, which will enable cities to develop new technologies at city-scale.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

The biggest obstacle is the lack of proper business models. By failing to follow appropriate business strategies, many cities have reduced the likelihood that they could succeed. My research suggests that what hinders the physical digital integration in smart cities is a combination of inappropriate businesses strategies (value chain, value proposition), technical hurdles (standards, common model, big data, etc.), social effects (technology take up, public engagement, etc.).

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?

I believe smart cities in general will require people with strong knowledge on business models and capable of understanding the complete value chain of smart cities and urban data. Data scientists will be required to work on unlocking value from integrated data.

What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise that will affect our future cities?

I am more most excited about the convergence of the IoT in the city environment. Systems that operate within urban environments are increasingly being tied to a pool of multi-structured real-time data catalysed by millions of electronic networked devices part of the city IoT (e.g. sensors, smart meters, cameras, and actuators). Once data is collected the city physical infrastructure is infused with information, and the data can be integrated and exchanged across multiple processes, entities, systems, and cities’ stakeholders to better understand their surrounding environments, improve people’s mobility, mitigate environmental changes, recover rapidly from disasters. The integration of city systems at the system-of-system level has been demonstrated to be able to create drivers for infrastructure innovate on and improve the control of resources. All this data is creating real-time cities.

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Larissa Romualdo will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCITIES

Big Data Smart Cities Future Cities Urban Infrastructure Connected City Summit Women in Tech


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