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February 13, 2018updated 14 Feb 2018 9:10am

London named one of the world’s smartest cities

Top three smart cities named, with London headlining alongside Singapore and Barcelona.

By April Slattery

London has taken home the prize for one of the top global smart cities around the world, due to its impressive leadership on smart city programs.

The report was conducted by Philips Lighting and SmartCitiesWorld and highlighted the drivers and obstacles local governments face when looking to adopt a smart city program. London was named one of the top global smart cities, alongside Singapore and Barcelona.

Over half (56%) of survey respondents revealed that effective leadership was the key factor to making a smart city program successful. Adopting smart city programs bring great benefits to cities and residents, including creating new jobs and saving millions in costs.

Barcelona demonstrated these benefits, creating 47,000 new jobs as a result of implementing IoT systems as well as saving €42.5m on water and created an extra €36.5m on smart parking per year. Los Angeles demonstrated similar benefits, with cost savings of $9m a year thanks to smart LED streetlights.

Despite the benefits being so impactful, 10% of local authority representatives said they did not have the capacity to develop a smart city program. The survey found that obstacles local authorities face include budget limitations (23%), lack of supporting infrastructure (19%) and short term planning.

UK named one of the world’s smartest citiesEach of the top three smart cities was recognised for their individual success and strengths. Singapore was admired for its forward-planning into infrastructure, including buildings, transportation and underground space. Focusing on communities when implementing technology was the area London was recognised for, describing the city as “a honey pot of technologies and partnerships” according to the survey. Finally, Barcelona was ranked in the top three for its government driving change and cost savings.

The report found that growing IoT has a key role to play on smart city success. Survey respondents found that revolutionising data (35%), revolutionising communication for accurate service deliver (15%) and managing the strain on resources (13%) were ranked top three highest to IoT being most effective in cities.

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“New technologies can already transform the way cities deliver, operate and maintain public amenities, from lighting and transportation to connectivity and health services. Often, however, adoption is slowed by the division of work and the selection of technology that doesn’t easily work together or integrate with other city services,” Jacques Letzelter, Segment Manager at Philips Lighting.

“Fortunately, there are many successful examples of smart city projects that prove these obstacles can be overcome, with the right collaborative approach and integration technologies. These projects show that smart cities can bring about better lives and enhanced safety for their citizens.”

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One of the key factors Philip Lighting denoted important to successful implementation of smart city programs was collaboration. The collaboration of different expertise and strategies will bring the biggest benefits to cities, residents and organisations.

“Collaboration is key. For cities to truly benefit from the potential that smart cities offer, a change in mindset is required where local authorities plan longer and across multiple departments,” said Andreas Knobloch, Alliance Specialist at Philips Lighting. “We must think of city-wide systems as one ecosystem working together. At the same time, we all – technologists, local governments, businesses, environmentalists and the general public – must help to build the investment case to enable cities to successfully implement smart city programs.”

According to the survey, 70% of the world’s energy is consumed by cities. By 2025 urban areas are expected to be home to 6.5billion people, 2.5billion more than today. Therefore, in order to remain fit for purpose cities must tackle the obstacles they face and attempt to develop a smart city program to benefit each area.

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