VINT report 4: smart cities

VINT Research 4: Smart Cities

SMACT and the City - New Technologies in Urban Environments.

We are living in "the Decade of Smart," as IBM's former CEO Sam Palmisano said in 2010. Smart houses, smart traffic, smart stores, smart energy: in this decade, everything seems to be becoming smart, thanks to technology. However, the phrase might equally well be: "this is the decade of SMACT: Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and connected Things." These five elements represent the new digital technologies that are the bricks needed to build the new smart living environment: SMACT and the City. Both Smart and SMACT deserve to bear the honorary title of "the Decade of": Smart from the viewpoint of ambition and goals, SMACT from the viewpoint of technological possibilities and implementation. It is precisely the relation between the two that is so interesting and formed the inspiration to write this report.

In this report VINT explores how and how quickly new technologies will develop in the urban environment, from the perspective of the most-discussed concepts in the world of smart cities: Cities in a Box, Senseable Cities and Cities as a Platform.

The report provides an analysis of how this is already becoming a reality for retailers and presents what companies and organisations of all trades could learn from the on going convergence of bricks and clicks.

  1. Pervasive digitization and the city as a sensory platform
    The Internet of Things leads to an increase in omnipresent connectivity: ranging from people's homes to cars and from trashcans to the LED lights in offices. The smartphones in people's pockets serve as data collectors as well as mobile gateways that enable providers to make all kinds of data services available. A smart city functions on the basis of a number of platforms on which it gathers data that, having been analysed, are made accessible.
  2. Omni-channel everywhere: bricks and clicks convergence
    Physical and digital experiences will become one integral, smoothly flowing perception. People will be digitally recognized in the streets and their personal experience of buying goods on the web will be extended and amplified in the stores. SMACT will help us gain better insight into how the city and its people function and behave, which will affect the digitally controlled behaviour of the city itself.
  3. Fading sector boundaries
    Due to the convergence of digital and physical on platforms that integrate all functions, the boundaries between the different sectors will gradually disappear. Only a brand name and a touch point will remain, the rest is irrelevant. Platforms like Facebook and Google are eager to add a payment function of their own to their service assortment. Starbucks is already harvesting billions of dollars with its own payment function.

The city with a digital shell offers opportunities and possibilities in every conceivable area. The City as a Platform forms the inspiration as well as the (pre)condition to realize these opportunities.

The Personal City, i.e. the city that regards its citizens as individual people and understands the latter's desire to be – or at least have the illusion of being – in control of their own environment, is the smartest city. Commitment and customer satisfaction are not things that can be imposed – they depend on the participants' perception and experience. The Personal City can also be the city where the citizen is tempted to participate on the basis of these principles, with new services that capitalize on the desire for immediacy, have a personal context, and use technology as persuasive technology.

Applied in this way, a Smart City's push and pull factors will converge and make sure that the city becomes a much more comfortable, cleaner, more energy-efficient, more entertaining and safer place to be. 


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  • Menno van Doorn
    Menno van Doorn
    SogetiLabs Director
    +31 6 51 27 09 85
  • Therese Sinter - Scandinavia, ENG
    Therese Sinter
    Marketing & Communications Director,
    +46 70 361 46 21

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