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Ericsson reports probe impact of ICT on city life

November 10, 2014  

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Ericsson today published its latest ConsumerLab report, entitled “Smart Citizens: How the Internet facilitates smart choices in city life.”

The study, which covers nine cities worldwide — Beijing, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, Rome, São Paulo, Stockholm and Tokyo – concludes that as citizens become smarter, so do the cities they inhabit. The report explored different concepts that will enable people to take a more proactive and participatory role in city life, from digital health monitoring to interactive navigation and social bike and car sharing.

“Citizens want current players to Internet-enable their services,” said Michael Bjorn, head of research at Ericsson Consumer Lab. “This means for example that city authorities are expected to provide ICT services related to traffic, public services and water quality. Citizens want current players to Internet-enable their services. This means, for example, that city authorities are expected to provide ICT services related to traffic, public services and water quality.

“Interestingly, for all the concepts tested, citizens who live in the central parts of the cities are more interested in the concepts than those who live in suburbs. Also, the young and full-time workers are those with the overall highest predicted daily use of the concepts, and the ones who will most actively push cities to grow smarter.”

The study was conducted online in September with 9,030 iPhone and Android smartphone users aged between 15 and 69.

Ericsson today also published its latest Networked Society City Index. The index ranks 40 cities and measures their ICT maturity in terms of leverage from ICT investments in economic, social and environmental development: the “triple bottom line” effect. No Canadian city is currently part of the index.

The company said that one of the key findings from the report is the fact that cities with a low ICT maturity tend to be improving their ICT maturity faster than high performing cities, indicating a catch-up effect. Many cities also have the opportunity to leapfrog others by avoiding expensive and increasingly obsolete physical infrastructure and instead moving straight into innovative applications using advanced mobile technology, it said.

Patrik Regårdh, head of Ericsson’s Networked Society Lab, added that cities will be the major arena in which ICT can bring solutions for economic, social, and sustainable growth,

The top five cities (Stockholm, London, Paris, Singapore and Copenhagen) remain the same from last year, though Paris has now surpassed Singapore to take the number three slot. The nine new cities have been added in this year’s report are Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, Athens, Rome, Warsaw, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Among these, Munich enjoys the highest ranking, followed by Berlin and Barcelona.

Also new in this year’s report is the inclusion of three predictions about the urban future derived from new technology and ICT solutions and applications:

Smart citizens: People rather than institutions will drive urban progress to a larger extent, with more open public services and governance approaches characterizing this power shift.

GDP redefined: By moving toward a more collaborative and sharing economy, ICT solutions will provide opportunities to create more value from fewer resources, therefore necessitating an adjustment of GDP to mirror the values important for a sustainable society.

Power of collaboration: Tomorrow’s networking organizations will be more flexible and efficient thanks to collaboration. Therefore the prevailing conditions of city management will also evolve, requiring changes in legislation and governance.

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