Citizens are the driving force for Smart Cities deployment. Internet of Things is just a catalyst to enable the creation of new and better services and more efficient usage of resources in the city.

Published Friday, 5 February, 2016
Updated Friday, 5 February, 2016

This is a guest blog post written by Sergio Garcia Gomez, Technological Specialist – Solution Architecture for Telefonica and Chair of AIOTI working group on Smart Cities

One might think that, due to certain hype, IoT enabled Smart Cities are a great business opportunity for many Information Technology (IT) companies. However, in the AIOTI Working Group on Smart cities (WG08), we have learnt that it is not so straightforward to find scenarios where private and public investment, profitability and sustainability fit together. When, a few months ago, the European Commission incited many all-size companies from all over Europe to meet and help shape the European market of IoT’ed Smart Cities, we were hardly up to the challenge.

However, our working group kicked off during last spring, and we had the chance to gather for first time during the IoT Week in Lisbon in June 2015. So many ideas on the table, such a high commitment! We were so enthusiastic to start organizing our work around the main ideas and concepts through multiple calls and email exchanges, brainstorming and contributions, readings and interviews. As chair of Working Group on Smart Cities, I must say that working with such a highly skilled and committed team has been a really enriching experience, which has allowed us to produce very interesting recommendations for the deployment of Smart Cities: AIOTI WG08 recommendations for Smart City IoT Large Scale Pilots.

Our main conclusions focus on four specific areas. Concerning the technical chapter, we need to deploy infrastructures with modular architectures, increase the interoperability of IoT, foster data openness policies, configure an adaptable privacy and security framework, integrating legal issues with the deployed technology. With regards to the acceptability recommendations, involving all the stakeholders in the testing zone is a must, thus guaranteeing the success of the pilots. We also need to define common problems in representative cities and, of course, we must focus on citizens' and users' needs, since, after all, the cities were created for them. With reference to business recommendations, Large Scale Pilots on Smart Cities should provide evidence that the business aspect of the proposal guarantees the sustainability of the investment even beyond the end of the project, through clear business plans and innovative business models and public-private collaboration mechanisms. We also proposed additional recommendations such as to tackle multiple domains or verticals, exploiting data from existing systems in the city, and test the legal boundaries –even push them when possible- for the feasibility of certain solutions of technologies in the pilot.

With these proposals in hand, it is now time to focus on how to shape the Smart Cities market, by defining a technology agnostic framework where different solutions can be fitted, identifying the technological gaps  and recognising the interoperability points among platforms . Linking them with standardization and policy groups will also be a major task for this period. To face this and other challenges, our working group is highly committed to continue adding members from the demand side, i.e. representing citizens' interests. We are also committed to keep on producing relevant results for the European IoT industry and the European cities. In this particular domain, Europe can establish a clear technological leadership, taking the initiative in the Open and Agile Smart Cities organization that helps create a global smart city market.

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