Nominet unveils global smart city showcase
Smart city development now a global phenomenon, says Navigant Research

Nominet unveils global smart city showcase

Nominet, the organisation responsible for running and regulating UK internet domains, has unveiled a showcase of exciting smart city projects.

It investigates 148 smart city projects from across the world, analyzing the problems they’re solving and where they’re getting their financial backing from.

The announcement follows recent comments made by Ronan Dunne, the former CEO of mobile operator O2, who said the UK could fall behind on adopting smart cities.

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This showcase has been designed in partnership with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino of IoT strategic consultancy Designswarm and a panel of global experts.

Constantly growing

Smart cities, while early-stage in adoption, are constantly growing in popularity. Nominet wants to provide a snapshot of how a handful of projects are evolving, identifying issues when they arise.

A number of findings have been made by the showcase, namely around funding and maturity. It revealed that under half of smart city projects get public money from the EU, academia, governments or local authorities.

As well as this, of the 148 projects analyzed in the showcase, 58 percent are actually operational and available – up from 13 percent at around the same time last year.

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These projects can come into contact with a plethora of challenges, and transport is one of them. Infrastructure in the area is still in the early stages when it comes to development, caused by large costs, large time scales and disruption of current transportation.

Range of focus areas

Writing in a blog post, Bryan Marshall – a research fellow at Nominet – explained that smart city projects are focusing on areas such as data, environment, citizen engagement and traffic.

“The most popular project categories are data platforms, environmental monitoring and citizen engagement. Interestingly, however, if you combine traffic management, parking and transport together; transportation as a whole becomes the second largest category,” he wrote.

Smart cities offer a wide range of benefits, from improved sustainability to cost savings. Marshall said they’re in the “best interest” of public organizations, which is why funding them is so important.

He said:Regarding funding, smart cities are cities after all, and it’s in the interest of public bodies, not corporations, to look at ways of improving efficiency and quality of living.

Smart city investments

“It seems that the larger corporates are still standing back from straightforward investment and are participating through corporate R&D budgets. This may be down to the lack of maturity and uncertainty in the market (and indeed the technology itself).”

“Many corporates are wanting to sell solutions to cities and local authorities, but there are few funds at local government level (certainly in the UK) for anything outside of the absolute necessary and statutory requirements.”

“Unless a local authority has a very clear vision for how they will use these technologies for the future, this slow investment may continue. Conversely, it is also up to the corporates to articulate the clear benefits in the first place, and come up with ways to support a city through an evolving budgetary landscape.”

Related: New U.S. push to fund smart initiatives