Smart City rankings underline future data challenges

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The competition is fierce, but Singapore has edged out Dubai and London to be named as the world’s top smart city, according to a new competitive assessment report by ABI Research.

The market research and advisory company found that Singapore’s so-called ‘Smart Nation’ initiative had helped the city-state to address a range of urban issues in relation to high-density living.

Cities worldwide have been becoming increasingly ‘smart’ through the sophisticated use of data centres to manage everything from traffic control to pollution and waste management.

However, as cities grapple with the challenges of future population growth and plan for how their infrastructure will cope with the increase in demand – and, more importantly, extreme data in the coming years – it would appear that Singapore has set the current benchmark, having scored impressively across various criteria in the study.

Data management on the move

The city-state finished with the top scores in the mobility-as-a-service and freight-as-a-service categories, and the destination is home to a number of data-supported technological innovations, including driverless taxis, autonomous shuttles and platooning trials and projects.

A total of 10 cities were analysed as part of the study, with those listed in the rankings also including New York and Los Angeles in the US, Paris in France, Beijing and Shanghai in China, Tokyo in Japan and Seoul in South Korea.

Dominique Bonte, ABI Research VP End Markets

ABI Research analysed each city according to innovation programmes, strategies and implementation measured through metrics for congestion, air quality, GDP, crime rates and cost of living. The research also noted whether each city is embracing disruptive technologies to meet challenges in terms of mobility, transportation, energy, education, healthcare and public services.

“Singapore and second-placed Dubai emerge as smart city leaders, excelling in innovation in terms of the adoption of next-generation technologies and disruptive smart city paradigms as structural solutions for hard problems,” ABI Research’s vice-president of end markets, Dominique Bonte said.

“Dubai is leading the way in the implementation of distributed ledgers with all government transactions to be processed via blockchain technology by 2030.

“Both Singapore and Dubai also score highly across most of the implementation criteria like congestion management, crime prevention and safety. Dubai actually has a ‘Happiness Index’, which monitors the quality of public services and is aimed at improving overall citizen satisfaction.”

Open data policies

ABI Research also reported that third-placed London had embraced advanced open data policies, enabling a wider ecosystem of smart city application developers and start-ups.

However, Shanghai and Beijing were ranked at No.9 and No.10, respectively, having been described as lagging behind the other cities, in spite of both cities’ efforts to deploy technologies like smart metres and smart grids, bike sharing, vehicle electrification, smart parking and smart cards.

The issue facing the Chinese mega-cities is, unsurprisingly, population increases – signalling a warning for other destinations braced for significant changes and challenges in terms of extreme data management in the coming years.

“They continue to face formidable issues related to congestion and pollution and trail the other cities on economic development in terms of GDP per capita,” the report said, referring to the Chinese cities.

“At the same time, both cities have huge potential to improve their ranking in the future as they continue to evolve their smart cities solutions from basic sensor-centric technologies to more advanced approaches while benefiting from expertise gained during trials in smaller cities in China.”

To find out more about how GeoSpock can help smart cities to manage data now and in the coming years, contact us.