Blog publications

Smart cities: Where's the ROI?

Smart cities: Where's the ROI?

Here is a resume of the newest whitepaper published by the SmartCitiesWorld (, a platform that provides a centralized source of intelligence about the infrastructure required to create a smart city today and for the future. SmartCitiesWorld Trend Reports examine an emerging or growing trend in smart cities, highlighting progress so far and future potential, as well as spotlighting case studies from cities around the world. Written by Sue Weekes, News Editor, SmartCitiesWorld, this report examines how smart cities can achieve a three-dimensional return-on-investment that delivers economic, environmental, and social benefits.

This is reliant on transformational change – not only in terms of technology but also in how cities think and operate.

They need to move away from the traditional siloed way of working and foster closer collaboration across key stakeholder groups.!!!

This requires both cultural change and modernization to align towards a common vision for the long-term. The published case studies show that whatever a city’s aims and ambitions have, the right starting point is central to the successful roll-out of not just the initial application but all of those that follow. Further, the investments they make in smart city applications must be viewed as part of a multi-purpose platform that enables the bigger picture modernization initiative: something that is crucial to future smart city plans and achieving the three pillars of smart city success.

The report is focused on answering the following important questions:

  • How to define a vision for modernization?
  • How leading cities put in place the technology infrastructure and processes to achieve this?
  • Case studies from Guangzhou and Paris, which have used smart lighting networks as a springboard for broader smart city roll-outs?
  • Examples of results achieved so far and a look at what’s next.

The report offers some key recommendations:

1. Start small to demonstrate ROI and gain stakeholder support - Smart cities can start with a single application. Start with one that delivers immediate benefits. Leverage the foundation to prove value and justify follow-on investment to key decision-makers. Starting with a robust, multi-purpose platform from the start will maximize the chance of success.

2. Develop a culture of collaboration - Smart cities are as much about the people and processes behind them as the technology. Cities need to ensure that as well as introducing new technologies, they are adapting ways of working and processes, and creating a culture that aligns goals towards long-term transformation.

3. 360-degree leadership and vision - Not only must smart cities put in place an executive layer with responsibility for devising a holistic vision but ensure individual departmental efforts are coordinated to deliver on this promise. Only looking at projects from all angles will help identify opportunities for cross-departmental efficiencies and maximize the benefit to residents.

4. Engage all stakeholders - As well as departments and agencies, this also means external ones such as citizens and relevant parties in the ecosystem. Ensure everyone has a voice and help them to see projects in the bigger picture.

5. Encourage open minds and open platforms - Without one or both of these, the smart city project is at risk from the start. Be open to new ideas and ways of working but don’t invest in anything until you are satisfied that what you are buying will enable you to realize your vision.

6. Tap into the creativity of open ecosystems to drive innovation- Connect and engage with the world of innovation. Who knows what tomorrow’s challenges will be, let alone how to address them, but having a mechanism in place to constantly innovate will help maximize the benefits of your investments and ensure a three-dimensional ROI.

The Cluster Sofia Knowledge City Team

Latest news

© 2023 SOFIA - Knowledge City - cluster.