The future of a legacy business world has always been decided by the location and geography. Along with the perfect geography for businesses, when a city starts implementing technology and preparing itself for a better tomorrow that helps the citizens and businesses work efficiently and showcase a sturdy and sustainable growth, it becomes a smart city.
A Smart city helps businesses and citizens get access to a comfortable work environment, which leads to transforming lives for a better tomorrow. Smart cities are conceptualized keeping science and lifestyle at the center of development.
It is estimated that infrastructural investment for smart cities will be a whopping $40 trillion, cumulatively, over the next two decades. This investment will transform around 40 global cities as smart cities.
What makes a city ‘smart’!
Smart cities are built on four pillars: operations, infrastructure, people, and technology. The fourth pillar, technology, is infused with intelligence. Even more importantly, the pillars work in an integrated and interconnected fashion to ensure resource usability and sustainability.
For example, a smart city’s power distribution system could be based on smart grids, which are integrated with the local power demand patterns, grid supply variations, and a well-organized operational and distribution process, that provide the best production, consumption, and storage systems.
Using the data generated for production, consumption, and storage, the electricity provider can predict how much electricity should be supplied. They can create distribution zones, analyze the consumption pattern, and store accordingly.
So, how do businesses benefit from smart cities?
Businesses not only benefit from the revenue generated by the core development of a smart city; the benefits exponentially increase with the use of technology and advanced predictive analysis. Let us take a look at some key benefits that businesses gain from smart cities.
In a world where population growth seems to be rapidly increasing, sustainability remains at the heart of the smart cities’ development. The existing resources of a city have a significant impact on the environment and a smart city always seeks to reduce this and approach zero carbon footprints.
Thus, developing a smart city means always being on the lookout for sustainable solutions to the challenges the city faces.
A business operating within a smart city must fit into this sustainable model. This essentially means a sustainable approach to challenges, such as disposing of waste responsibly, a heightened focus on conserving energy, focusing on ethical ways of treatment of employees, and better use of technical and natural resources.
A study conducted by Neilson in 2015 showcased that 66% of respondents were willing to pay more for a product or a service if the company was seriously committed to positive social and environmental changes. Customer’s demand for sustainability today is on the rise, so businesses that are operating in a smart city model observe improved customer relations and increased profits as a result.
For a smart city to remain at its most sustainable, efficient, and effective self, the strategies and technologies must see continuous improvement and must have timely updates.
The force that drives the development of technology and the ability to provide better working conditions is innovation.
We can already see houses and businesses being equipped with Internet of Things appliances that have made life easier for everyone. This responds to the increased demand for technological dependence. With advancements in technology, the reach and the growth of businesses see a sure-shot increase.
A Boost in The Global And Local Economy
The technological advancements and enterprises created to add value to smart cities will, without any doubt, prove to be a huge boost to the economy.
Businesses will also be able to leverage the data being collected by appliances and equipment used in smart cities, which will help them understand the target demographic space better and provide better services.
For example, Transport for London (TFL) provides its data to City Mapper (a transport utility app). This makes it easier for the passengers to find out the quickest route throughout the London city.
London’s tourism industry has noted a significant increase in the public transport usage with the use of City Mapper. According to a research by Navigant, the global market for smart services and solutions is expected to see a whopping growth from $40.1 billion to $97.9 by the year 2026.
Citizens today expect to base their daily lives on robust, user-friendly digital solutions. Collaboration tools, modern cognitive websites, self-service portals, mobile applications, and convenient online banking have become a standard in many aspects of life and smart citizens expect nothing less than that from a city. Expanding digital services to communities makes cities smarter and provide more and more opportunities for businesses.
Let’s take a look at a brilliant case of smart governance. The government of India started a service called Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in 2016. UPI is a cashless method of payment. The Reserve Bank of India rolled out a mandate for all the banks to start providing UPI services to any Indian citizen who holds a valid bank account and completes the Know Your Customer (KYC) process, which ensures a better safety measurement for online payments.
What was the need of this sudden transition in an incredibly old economy that had been running the legacy way for hundreds of years? UPI was a result of demonetization that was announced overnight by the government.
This sudden move was to enforce black money being deposited into bank accounts so that the government gets the due tax on that account and puts a leash on the parallel economy. So, how did this move help business? UPI ensured that every single bank account was now digital.
With such a move, the smallest of shopkeepers were now able to accept money using hundreds of UPI enabled mobile apps. This simply meant more transactions and more business for millions of shopkeepers. This move changed the way business is done in India forever.
New Economic Development Opportunities
Investors are looking to put their money into the development of smart cities now. Reason? Simple – better returns. That’s happening because the comfort, the luxury, and the convenience smart cities offer are proving out to be the best value for anyone that is buying a house or someone who is looking to set up a business.
Smart city investments are playing a vital role in enhancing the cities’ regional and global competitiveness to lure in new residents, businesses, and opportunities. Even furthermore, smart cities that are providing access to their data to businesses in a secure environment, are eventually helping businesses make smarter decisions.
Increased Workforce Engagement
‘Human resource is the best resource’ – as they say! A highly efficient workforce is a key factor for any business. Deploying smart technologies helps lessen the manual workload that bothers any urban professional.
The technical elevation allows city employees to head into the right direction without having to worry about the less important aspect of their work/personal lives. Gadgets today are so capable that they can take care of most day-to-day operations.
When such technology and facilities are available in a city, valuable and intelligent people start to move into such cities, and they join organizations that match the city’s technical offerings. Businesses benefit from those mega thinkers and efficient workers.
Smart cities make smart regions and lead to making smart nations. The ease of living, the boost in the economy, and the upliftment of the work environment are desires of any modern business today. Moving a business to a smart city is not a dream anymore; Look around, it is already happening.