Q1) What does “Smart City” mean to you? A Smart City uses technology to improve service delivery to its constituents. However, the temptation is to focus on IoT technology as Smart traditionally relates to sensing, control and actuation. In my opinion, the industry is shifting towards a broader definition of Smart that could be better called Digital Cities, that looks to blend IoT with core operational IT, Big Data, Analytics and mobile development. The other big change is the increasing focus on Human Centred design. The traditional model of IT solution development as an engineering heavy discipline has be preceded with a strong discovery and design phase that looks to fundamentally examine how technology can facilitate the delivery of services in a way that is meaningful to constituents and has tangible impact.
Q2) What are the key challenges for large cities in emerging markets to transform into truly smart cities? The challenges tend to boil down to: Poor governance of the program and lack of mandate; a lack of focus on human centred design; limited competence in new technology domains (analytics, mobile development, IoT, security, etc.) and a lack of long term sustainable funding due to poor articulation of the value proposition and a consequent reticence on the behalf of politicians to commit long term funding.
Q3) How does Accenture contribute to the smart city concept? Accenture looks to differentiate itself by supporting cities across the full lifecycle of program development and delivery. We are technology agnostic and can support the City from Visioning and ideation, through human centred design, to value case development and the technology design, delivery and operation. There are precious few organisations that can match the breadth and depth of global skills we have across all of the stages in the lifecycle.