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‘Smartness barometer needed’ for smart city services

Framework required for measuring smartness of services, says Booz Allen Hamilton

‘Smartness barometer needed’ for smart city services
Shehadi: The most desirable form is a predictive smart service.

There is a need for a framework to define the degrees of the smartness of public services in cities today, according to Ramez Shehadi, executive vice president and managing director, Booz Allen Hamilton.

Speaking during the keynote session at this week's Smartcon 2015 conference in Dubai, Shehadi called for the standardisation of a "smartness barometer", against which services and initiatives launched by the government and private sector can be measured and evaluated.

He referred to a recent report by Booz Allen, titled, "Smart Cities: A Gateway to Digital Life." The report recommends organising the smart evaluation criteria as ‘connected', ‘integrated', ‘personalised' and ‘predictive', plotting a service's level of excellence. The framework will inform service transformation strategies and cultivate a recognized measure of what it means to be truly smart.

Enhancing the quality of life in smart cities is contingent upon a detailed understanding of constituent behavior, says the report, which cites big data analytics as a critical tool to recognising and understanding that behaviour.

"By taking a holistic, citizen-centric approach to smart service development, city officials can realise the promise of healthier living, greater productivity and enhanced business innovation, thereby improving the overall quality of life," said Shehadi.

"The most desirable form is a predictive smart service, which enables agencies to turn hard field intelligence into predictive insights-and anticipatory action. This is often supported by an analytics program that evaluates current road and transit patterns to predict future usage, guiding informed decisions. The higher a city's services move on the smartness barometer, the smarter the city becomes. Smarter schools, utilities, commerce, healthcare, transport, and security are just the beginning of what's possible."

The report also calls on global governments and ICT service providers to modernise and retrofit existing infrastructure, a move that will help facilitate volume growth of digital infrastructure that in turn supports smart services. The deployment of 21st century technology will also empower policymakers to address economic, social, and environmental challenges of urbanisation, said Shehadi.

The report adds that the smartness of a service will need to cover other imperatives such as the maintenance of intuitive, personalised interfaces, and smarter back-end applications with open data - crucial for predictive analytics and technology infrastructure that enables convergence, all backed by high levels of security. Other key fundamentals that can support the efficient adoption of smart services include quantifying return on investments ahead of time, a comprehensive implementation roadmap, a robust governance model, symbiotic partnerships, pilot test programs and periodic performance reviews.

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