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November 20, 2014

Smart tech can maximise IT investment in cities

UK city authorities spend almost £23m on IT - 6% of total expenditure per year.

By CBR Staff Writer

Smart technology investment can help city governments maximise the value of IT, according to a study conducted by UCL and Arup.

The study, ‘Delivering the Smart City’, found that UK city authorities spend 6% of their total expenditure, which is around £23m a year, on IT alone.

Arup Smart Cities lead consultant Lean Doody said, "Smart technology does not need to be a new cost item on the balance sheets of city governments."

"Rather than adding to the city’s existing technology expenditure, smart technology can enable cities to get more value from their IT investment. Cities do not need to start from scratch to realise the opportunity of smart."

The study was aimed at knowing the spending patterns of eight major UK cities and what they are paying for technology.

According to the findings, IT spending over the last three years was almost two fold compared to that spent on utility and transportation. The amount spent was similar to the spending on financial services sector.

The report also found that the city authorities did not have proper governance structures to allocate join investments across different city siloes.

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UCL Science Research Associate Dr Ellie Cosgrave said: "Our research shows that cities are comparatively ahead of the curve in viewing IT as an essential part of their annual expenditure.

"Although this is very positive, we also see that cities aren’t benefitting fully from their existing investments in smart technology and could improve this through more strategic oversight. This can be achieved by sharing innovative ideas and lessons learnt within and between cities, and by creating governance structures that enable efficient cross-department working."

The report also focuses upon Rio, Barcelona and London, to analyse the challenges faced by city governments.

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