In those hyper-connected, super-smart cities of the future, people are still destined to play important roles.
According to Gartner Research Vice President Bettina Tratz-Ryan, the fate of smart cities hinges on the active involvement of people inspired to use information technology. Without these digital citizens, the cities cannot work, she said.
Karen Mossberger, author of Digital Citizenship, defines digital citizens as “those who use the Internet regularly and effectively.” To quality, a digital citizen must have extensive skills and knowledge in using a the Internet with a variety of devices to interact with private and public organizations.
Others more broadly define it as norms of appropriate, responsible technology use.
By any definition, Tratz-Ryan said, digital citizens are the keys to success for smart cities.
She points out that when IBM started talking about the smart cities as through its Smarter Planet initiative in 2008, it focused on networking, infrastructure and analytics. So things like efficiency, effectiveness and the operational expense was paramount. To a large extent, though, those objectives have been achieved.
“The cities face new dimensions now. There have been demographic changes, citizens whether they are businesses or people are becoming more open with their data, because it is coming form a lot more places and sensors like street lights, or cars, or public transport,” she said.;