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Becoming a Smart City Spans an Ongoing ICT Journey

IDC has released its "Smart Cities Maturity Model" and a report tracing a city's journey to becoming smart and connected -- based upon the dimensions of government, buildings, mobility, energy, environment and services across three major stages of data availability and its level of integration.

The model is the next step in the development of the IDC "Smart Cities Index," which was created to rank a city's smartness factors. After successful application in Spain, the index is currently being applied in Germany and France, and also being evaluated for application in other countries and regions around the world.

For more insight into the model, see the IDC report entitled "Becoming a Smart City: IDC Energy Insights' Smart Cities Maturity Model." The report includes IDC recommendations designed to create concrete opportunities for actions for cities undertaking the smart city journey.

As smart city initiatives are undertaken by many cities around the world, the focus and improvement efforts by city managers are directed by each city's priorities. The ecosystem of public and private companies involved might also determine diverse clusters of action.

For instance, in the case of Málaga or Amsterdam, there is a strong push from the respective energy players involved. In cities such as Madrid and Stockholm, however, elements such as public safety and traffic congestion management were the initial starting points.

It is clear that a single solution is not a viable or practical approach when initiating the journey toward smartness. The smart city journey is a multifaceted transformation, and there are many steps to consider, including the critical role of information and communications technology (ICT) in enabling a city's progressive maturity.

The IDC model identifies three macro stages of maturity -- scattered, integrated, and connected -- for each of the five smartness dimensions. These three stages of maturity are further defined by two factors: data availability and its respective level of integration. The maturity model suggests that in the transformation process the level of coordination among all existing and planned initiatives might vary in relation to a city's maturity.

Therefore a smart city might not only be at different levels of maturity in different time-frames, but might also be simultaneously at different stages for each of the smartness dimensions.

"Becoming a smart city is a journey of continuous improvements in the fields of government, buildings, mobility, energy, environment, and services," said Roberta Bigliani, head, EMEA, IDC Energy Insights. "Data availability and its respective level of integration evolve during the journey, and the IDC Smart Cities Maturity Model traces it from open data existing at the scattered level, to valuable information existing at the integrated level, and finally to ubiquitous information existing at the connected level."

IDC believes that since the smart city journey will never be a short-term venture, it is crucial to have the appropriate processes in place -- sustained by strong leadership, substantive innovation capabilities and collective intelligence, the appropriate governance, adequate financial resources, and the right amount of program flexibility.

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