A century ago, only about one inseven people in the world livedin a city. Today, hal the popula-tion does, and that percentage isgrowing steadily every year. Andas more and more people migrateto major urban centers, the inu-ence o cities—their technologies,businesses, orms o government,resource consumption, the qualityo lie they enable and much more—rises signifcantly. With their potential or personaland proessional opportunity, creativ-ity, economic stimulation and highproductivity, large concentrations o people can have a positive inuenceon humanity. At the same time,however, massive urbanization alsoposes risks to the planet in the ormo overcrowding, excessive carbonemissions and waste, and high rateso consumption o non-renewableresources. Thus, cities—municipalgovernments as well as the businessesand inhabitants that drive mucho a city’s economic growth—bear great responsibility or the eec-tive stewardship o people and theenvironment.This need to manage resources roma sustainable perspective coincideswith another important goal: theneed to create an attractive economicand social environment in whichcitizens, companies and governmentslive, work and interact.Cities actually compete or citizensand enterprises, much as businessescompete or customers. What becomesincreasingly important, then, isthe overall attractiveness o aparticular city and the experienceit provides to citizens and businesses,as maniested in a wide range o important characteristics: the valueo its services and the stability o its government, its economic andemployment opportunities, itsschools, the quality o its physicalenvironment, its cultural andartistic resources, its institutionso higher learning and other adulteducational opportunities, itshousing, its saety, its communityinvolvement, and its openness anddiversity.These dual goals—encouragingenvironmental stewardship whilealso increasing economic and socialattractiveness—are at the heart o an “Intelligent City.” And i your organization does business withinor with a city—and yours probablydoes—you have a vested interest inhelping cities become more intelligentand, thus, more successul.
More than technology
For a city, what does “intelligence”mean? One critical dimension is thatcities increasingly deliver servicesthat use so-called smart technologies,which can embed intelligence ina city’s inrastructure to extendthe eectiveness o services at alower cost.This kind o capability can nowstretch across a city’s services,rom monitoring power generationand optimizing electricity andwater usage to setting up open or gate-less tolling on urban roadways.In addition to these kinds o “machine-to-machine” capabilitiesenabled by telematics and RFIDtags, other important technologiesinclude smart grids to encouragebetter energy production anddelivery; intelligent sotware andservices; and high-speed commu-nications networks connecting allrelated city, citizen and businessservices. These are all parts o acity’s overall technology environ-ment, something Accenture callsan “intelligent inrastructure.” Yet at the same time, cities acedifcult challenges in harnessingand integrating these technologies.They struggle with legacy systemsthat oten hamper their integrationeorts. Systems are commonly basedon proprietary, closed inrastructures