Smart cities: The rise of new C-level executives
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By Michelle Davidson , Network World | Sep 20, 2016 3:30 AM PT
Move over traditional C-level executives. Cities are adding chief bicycle officer, chief innovation officer, chief data officer and chief citizen officer to their smart city dream team.
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Assembling a smart city dream team
Increasingly, cities are adopting smart technology to become more energy efficient, improve transportation, make neighborhoods safer, manage traffic—basically use technology and the data it generates to create better places to live, work and visit.
As they do so, they’re discovering they need specialists to head the new departments that the smart technology is enabling. And many have created new C-level executives, such as chief bicycle officer, chief innovation officer, chief data officer and chief citizen officer—to name a few. What follows is a look at nine of the newest C-level positions smart cities are creating.
Image courtesy Relay Bike Share
Chief Bicycle Officer
As cities become increasingly bicycle-friendly, they need people to oversee activities and projects related to cycling—hence the title chief bicycle officer. Last year, Atlanta appointed its first chief bicycle officer , Becky Katz. Her tasks include public outreach, project development, implementation of the Relay Bike Share program and ensuring new development is consistent with cycle-friendly aims.
Image courtesy Thinkstock
Chief Innovation Officer
Technology and the ever-growing amount of data it generates can help cities better analyze problems and assess solutions. But they need someone who understands the technology and can assure the data is analyzed and shared with the appropriate departments and businesses. To meet that need, cities have started appointing chief innovation officers.
Challenges CIOs address include public transportation, traffic congestion, parking, lighting and public Wi-Fi access.
In San Francisco, the CIO’s role is to ensure technology drives change in city government, leads technological innovations within the city and creates jobs. In Philadelphia, some of the CIO’s responsibilities are to ensure the IP system is up to date to create services that citizens can perform online. And in Kansas City, Missouri, the CIO identifies the city’s future technological needs, then acts as facilitator to help them become reality.
The ultimate goal of the chief innovation officer is to make cities better places to live and work.
Image courtesy Mike Peel via Wikimedia
Chief Night Mayor
When the sun sets, cities stay very much awake. Some cities are even considering having sections that are open 24/7. They could include libraries, offices, restaurants and night clubs. Such nighttime activity, while welcome by some, goes against the wishes of people who go to bed early and want peace and quiet.
To bridge the gap, cities—including Amsterdam (pictured), Paris and Zurich—have created chief night mayor positions. The appointed role is largely about managing and improving relations between night businesses, citizens, visitors and city hall. The difference between this position and the elected mayor is the night mayors have experience with nightlife activities. They understand the night culture and communicate with officials who are often tucked in bed at 10 p.m. and know nothing about the night scene.
Image courtesy Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr
Chief Data Officer
With the increased use of IoT sensors to make cities smart—on street lights, traffic signals and automated vehicles, to name just a few things—the amount of data generated is immense. Cities need people who know how to analyze all of that data and ensure all departments have access to it so they can make better decisions.