From a story I wrote for today’s New Zealand Herald:
Smart cities are where digital technologies are used to create better places to live and work.
Sensors, intelligent networks and applications combine to connect, monitor and analyse information in order to make the city work more efficiently. This can mean making transport run smoother; providing cleaner, more efficient energy, making people safer and delivering essential government services such as health and education more effectively.
At the last count there were 288 smart city projects around the world including Seoul, Glasgow and Barcelona.
In the story I interview Chorus network strategy manager Kurt Rodgers who told me rolling out fibre to 33 towns around New Zealand gives us a great jumping off point for creating smart cities.
Chorus sees smart cities as a way to whip up interest in fibre networks. That’s clever, not everyone wants to stream six channels of HD TV at a time or get super fast ping times while playing the latest Xbox titles.
While there’s an entertaing side to Ultrafast broadband, that hardly justifies the government spending $1.5 billion of tax payer money. On the other hand creating jobs, revitalising run-down towns and generally improving the quality of life will broaden the technology’s appeal.
For me, Rodgers’ most interesting comments were about the bottom-up effect of Chorus’s Gigatown promotion which has ordinary people contributing ideas on how their communities can benefit from fibre.