What Are Smart Cities?

A Smart City is characterized by its ability to make evidence based decisions for resource allocation and interaction with its residents, businesses, and other levels of government. A Smart City leverages specific emerging technologies to:

• Organize data capture and management to enable integrated models for planning, and for sharing with outside entities (sensor data from IoT-connected devices, ranging from traffic lights to sanitation trucks)

• Augment the intelligence of human staff or automate tasks that previously required human judgment

• Communicate with constituents and partners (other government and commercial entities) using natural language interfaces to promote interaction

• Predict (anticipate) and respond to resident and business wants, needs, and behaviors based on analysis of historical and current contextual data (using predictive analytics and machine learning)

• Learn from data to continuously improve efficiency throughout government, and effectiveness for specific functions such as public safety, health, and social services

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Recent Research


Digital Cities—A Solid Foundation for Smart Cities

This Note discusses the strategies and tactics cities need to address to build out their applications and infrastructure to become true digital cities, laying the foundation to begin the journey to becoming a “smart city.”

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Smart Cities: Powered by Integrated Intelligence

As increasingly mobile individuals and enterprises gravitate to urban areas, cities must use technology to compete for talent and manage resources. Making assets and agencies smarter, more collaborative, and more engaging with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a strategic imperative.

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The Smart City Imperative: Opportunities for Action in 2018

Many of the same predictive analytics and modern AI technologies that are being adopted by intelligent enterprises—to speed up business processes, predict outcomes, create more engaging and personalized customer interactions, and ultimately to recommend the best approach to take when evaluating a business problem—can also be applied to city governance.

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To view all of our research on smart cities visit our Smart Cities Index >

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Recent Blogs


The Digital Transformation of Cities: Houston, We Have a Problem!

We’ve been talking to governments and observing behaviors in cities of all sizes across the US.  While there is a clamor and almost a universal desire to have a smart city, the issue we’re seeing right now runs much deeper than that. This blog is about the current state of many of our cities and local governments and where they are in their digital transformation journey.

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Considerations for Smart City IoT Deployment

IoT has always been a singular concept for many, but those simple three letters can mislead about the true difficulty involved in deploying and managing the technologies under that umbrella term. IoT is a myriad of vendors, technology choices, security options and many other components. Complexity and lack of IoT governance stand out as key constraints.

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