Smart Cities: Much more than an algorithm

30/08/2017

LACNIC organized a workshop on Smart Cities in the Americas, Innovation and Sustainability, which was held in Mexico City within the framework of the XXXI Meeting of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission’s PCC.I.

More than ninety participants attended the meeting, where professionals from LAC and other regions shared ideas and projects with OAS member countries, academia and business organization representatives.

“Smart and sustainable cities involve various social, economic, structural, technological and regulatory contexts, the purpose of which is to satisfy the needs of citizens and improve their quality of life. To do so, using the technological standards on which the Internet is based is key. And IPv6 is undoubtedly one of those standards, as it allows these projects to achieve sustainability and innovation for the benefit of all,” noted Oscar Robles, LACNIC CEO.

Smart Cities face the challenge of integrating innovative services and platforms that will facilitate citizens’ daily activities. In this sense, cooperation and collaboration among the various sectors (governments, the technical Internet community, manufacturers, academia, and others) is required to allow open debate and the discussion of different ideas, through non-disruptive regulations and open, inclusive and participatory processes. “Smart Cities should not be solely based on technical algorithms; decision-making requires everyone to be involved, as we cannot afford to be wrong,” added Robles.

The workshop highlighted the need to create awareness on the protection of personal data as well as techniques and policies for processes that will ensure privacy and trust through the use of an open, stable and secure Internet.

Smart Citizens. Gustavo Mercado, an expert representing the University of Mendoza, stated that smart cities are usually born of the municipal authorities’ interest in improving the habitability, sustainability and efficiency of their city. “First, an analysis of the city’s strengths and weaknesses must be conducted. The next step is to determine how problems can be solved. If it is determined that the city’s problems have a ‘technological’ solution, we will witness the birth of a smart/technological/digital city,” said Mercado.

However, the government’s decision and the availability of technology are not enough to promote a smart city – without citizen participation, such a project is impossible to achieve.

“Citizens should be part of the definition of a smart city and their opinion should be taken into account when selecting solutions and technologies. This means that a vision and a plan are needed in order to develop the services that will make the city livable, sustainable and efficient,” Mercado added.

A city’s services can be improved through the use of Information Technology (ICT), including the Internet of Things. At first, city utilities and services such as electricity, water, transportation and gas were treated and managed independently. “ICTs now allow us to combine management of these services to increase their efficiency,” concluded the Argentine expert.

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