The pace of transformation is accelerating more rapidly than any other era in history. Technology is the engine, but smart ideas and innovations are controlling the direction. These smart ideas are shaped by the present fractures in business and industry that became apparent during the COVID pandemic, but also by the demands and expectations of the future. Casting aside our legacy business models, streamlining operations, optimizing supply chains, and integrating smart technologies will allow us to accelerate in the fact of disruption, charting a new course for the future of business.
One of the many smart concepts gaining speed is the development of “Smart Cities”. I recently spoke to Larisa Miller, who is one of the thought leaders on the concept of "Smart Cities”. Larisa Miller is the CEO of Phoenix Global, a global consulting firm, specializing in municipal, government and business consulting, around business model transformation, strategies for sustainability, integration of innovation and market expansion.
Larisa recognizes that the ability to shape the direction of the future of business is to anticipate the challenges, needs and requirements that will drive the operations and outcomes of our future societal and business needs, and then energizing and activating a plan to get there. One of the many outputs of her work is the notion that we must “understand behaviors of citizens, residents, workforce and travelers, by computing data, integrating IoT, e-Government and enhanced connectivity to drive innovation.”
Anticipating the needs, and then connecting the dots to achieve necessary results is the key to creating greater efficiencies across all industries and sectors. At the core of this ‘new normal’ is the need for a heightened focus on sustainability. Shaping our operations` and governance to positively impact our environment, societies and economic stability is a mandate for all of us as global businesses and global citizens.
Smart Cities incorporate policies, regulations, innovations, and technologies that allow us to experience greater societal efficiencies while minimizing our environmental footprint. Many Smart City concepts are still seen by many as futuristic and fantastical, however, these cutting-edge technologies are being integrated in these sustainable cities across the globe. “When asked to define a Smart City, most people assume that it simply means connectivity, however, a true Smart City integrates technologies and strategies which allow us to optimize operations through technology (i.e., Artificial Intelligence, robotics and automation), as well as waste management, transportation, access to government/e-government services, and other process enhancements that allow businesses to thrive and the needs of the workforce and residents to be achieved with greater efficiency, sustainable impact and cohesiveness”, notes Miller.
Larisa Miller has projected that “60% of the population will move to the urban centres by 2050.” This will create housing shortages, transportation challenges and increased competition for services. The rules of the supply & demand typically push prices up, and often keeps goods and services out of the reach of segments in in the urban population who fall into a lower income bracket.The cities and municipalities who anticipate societal needs, both today, as well as the years into the future, will be the vanguards of tomorrow, driving commerce, economic growth, and public policies.
The progression toward Smart Cities is already happening. Modular housing using shipping containers are becoming an edgy, modern, cost-effective housing rage. Gentrification of dilapidated inner cities is gaining ground, providing greater accessibility to services, efficiencies in public transportation, and solutions to mediate the food deserts which too often limit the health and well-being of our inner-city populations. While only a few short years ago, self-driving vehicles, drones, and integrated IoT seemed to be more concept than reality, however this rapid evolution leading us to an integrated future with technology at the core, will forever influence this rapid evolution of business, government, and society. “We can’t go back to normal because ‘normal’ was our problem. So, we must recognize that this is the era of bold steps and brave leaps, which can only occur with innovation, trust, transparency and unity as the keystone”, stresses Miller.
The health and longevity of our planet, the cohesiveness and unity of our societies, and the economic prosperity that ensures that we can meets the demands of our transformational future, depends on our ability to work smarter, live smarter and innovate smarter. The results of which will undoubtedly be Smart Cities.
One of my passions is the emphasis on STEM. STEM will be an important part of the journey to the Smart Cities. My challenge to those that will soon create or live in these Smart Cities is to get smarter now and become part of shaping the world you will be handing to the next generation.
AUTHOR BIO As President and Founder of USA Loves Manufacturing, Gretchen has created an organization that promotes and advocates for USA Manufacturing & Technology. USA LOVES MFG is committed to recognizing the tremendous impact the Manufacturing & Technology industries have on our nation. Gretchen envisioned an organization that would support the Manufacturing & Technology arena and lift up the people that make it happen everyday. You can follow Gretchen on social media using the icons below.