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All Change. Time to Review

This will be my last blog here.  Last as smarter cities technical leader as well.  A new adventure beckons for 2014!

I have been given the chance to create something new.  More details to follow in the near future.  Look out for Know Now Information and the kn-i platform.   

As the title suggests I want to take this opportunity to take stock of the smarter cities market here in the UK.   I would argue that change is starting to happen.  More partners and clients are thinking in the right way when it comes to being smart.  Primarily this is a shift to managing your world through outcomes.  

Procurement are being challenged to think outcomes.  This is creating a demand for smart information.  What is not yet in place are those wide industry adopted benchmarks.  A lack of trust pervades this space.  

I do see glimmers of hope though as trusted partners are now being tasked to drive outcomes-as-a-service for citizens.  These are often seen as being 'Innovative'. So not the norm. Yet.  This is triggering the 'right' type of conversation. Those involved in the discussion understand that having information is great, but what counts is acting upon it.  Having the power to change approach, action or policy is key to being able to realise benefits.  

What next though?  Let us remember that this market is still immature.  I would argue this means massive opportunity still exists for new services and innovations. Most of which have yet to be created.   The first I think will be driven by the shift to more personalised and localised informatiion delivery.  The relentless rise of the smartphone as your primary internet interface will continue to grow.  Location based services will be first to have trusted business benefits.  As they say it is all about Location! Location! Location!

A second positive trend is the growing positive track record of business' that focus on sustainability.  This is simply good business, good for the balance sheet and your customers.  Let alone CSR and environmental benefits.  Sustainability and a gradual drfit to a circular economy re-inforces the outcomes-as-a-service mode of operation and consumption. 

Barriers to entry are being reduced across a number of areas which is my third positive observation.  The cost of compute - from the Cloud to the smartphone is following Moores law and benefiting us all; the adoption of standards to guarantee interoperability is reducing risk and allowing SME's to play on the same pitch as large corporates; the availability of pervasive 4G mobile is bringing your home internet experience to your pocket.   This changes your consumption pattern and offers new opportunities, as well as providing us with vast amounts of data.    

The final element is this growing realisation that collaboration, risk sharing and shared delivery mean the sum is greater than the parts.  The net net is this behaviour further drives the need for smooth information flow.  This is because it aids in establishing trust across partners and enables outcomes to be used as a measure of shared success.  Especially if partners and stakeholders have different motivations and expectations from a collaboration.   

What I can see though is that 2014 will be a year of change.  Exciting times ahead for us all.   Good luck!


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