How vital a role does connectivity play in planning smart cities? Our experts share their opinions.

One of our FPT 2018 panels covered connectivity in smart cities. Experts from ARUP and VX Fibre share all with Forbes's senior reporter, Oliver Smith. We have broken it down for you into key takeaways. Keep reading to learn more about the value of connectivity in smart cities and more!

FPT Panel Discussion: Building Cities from the Internet Up

Key Takeaways:

Host: Oliver Smith, Senior Reporter, FORBES

Connectivity Experts:
1. Rick Robinson – Director of Digital Cities, ARUP
2. Mikael Sandberg – Executive Chairman, VX FIBER

Takeaway 1:  It is ALL about productivity. Local and national governments have been interested in connectivity for over 20 years now. A few objectives being community vitality and well-being. The challenge here – how do you align these benefits with investor objectives? Long term investment return depends on the health of the economy.
(0:38 mins in)

Takeaway 2: There are 4 areas which need to be considered when looking at cost benefits of connectivity for smart buildings. Economic, Social, Environmental and Productivity. The two parties who need to be approached first are RE Owners and The City Councils.
(3:12 mins in)

Takeaway 3: RE developers should consider fibre infrastructure as an investment. Within 3 years, they can make their money back and start earning.
(4:00 mins in)

Takeaway 4: The UK local government structure has made it difficult to improve productivity via connectivity. London is exceeding other UK regions as it is making connections between investment value and the economic value. We are only seeing the start of this value linking.
(4:30 mins in)

Takeaway 5: Social value creates economic value which creates return. Digital master planning is vital. Local authorities need to incentivise investment in connectivity. They also need to look at what digital services could be used in communities.
(6:00 mins in)

Takeaway 6: The types of tech which developers talk about are categorised into three areas: 1. Planning & Decisions  2. Design & Construct  3. Operating & Maintaining.
(7:00 mins in)

Takeaway 7: The top areas of tech which are over-hyped currently: 5G internet (Wifi & 4G technology is here to stay)and Internal Big Data. Companies who have the data do not necessarily need the data themselves. The data is only really valuable for new business models.
(8:00 mins in)

Takeaway 8: The rest of the UK should look at Sunderland as prime example of how a region has succeeded by focusing 12 years on their digital strategy. They are now considered the voice of the UK Tech Industry. Connectivity means commercial success and therfore a better economy.
(11.18 mins in)

Takeaway 9: Social impact of smart cities. 10-20 million jobs in the UK alone will be automated, obliterated, or impacted by technology. The last time there was such a significant shift like this was when we saw the decline of ship building, coal mining and car manufacturing, where these industries experienced 10-40 year depressions. We need to manage these changes better.
(14:36 mins in)

Takeaway 10: Direct access and digital skills are required to ensure that UK citizens are capable of doing their jobs in the 'new economy'
(27.30 mins in)

Takeaway 11: The term smart cities is new, but was first conceived in 1995 by MIT's media lab director, Bill Mitchell who mentioned future cities in 'The City of Bits'. This was one of the first books of it's kind focusing on digital technology rather than science fiction.
(15.30 mins in)

Takeaway 12: 
What to look out for! Our experts are looking at these areas of technology…
1. Shared Economy Service Platforms which make great connections in the real world.
2. Big Data companies focusing on Big Data

Suggested Reading from our Experts.
(The first documented mention of digital cities)

William Mitchell's
Space, Place and the Infobahn…(1995)

'Entertaining, concise, and relentlessly probing, City of Bits is a comprehensive introduction to a new type of city, an increasingly important system of virtual spaces interconnected by the information superhighway. William Mitchell makes extensive use of practical examples and illustrations in a technically well-grounded yet accessible examination of architecture and urbanism in the context of the digital telecommunications revolution, the ongoing miniaturization of electronics, the commodification of bits, and the growing domination of software over materialized form.'

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