KUUDES — SIX FORCES OF CHANGE
Focus this month: Seamless & Smart
We seek smart lifestyles through technological innovations. Ideally, we will have smart homes, smart offices, and smart cities that enable us to lead smarter lives with clear priorities. Embedded technologies might make our lives inseparable from the digital sphere.
Cities are valuable melting pots of our culture, trying to adapt to changes in our political, social, environmental and technological environment. With the city dwellers being their most important capital, there’s a need for new innovations and technologies to keep citizens happy where they are. Whether it’s reimagining transportation or tackling environmental issues on a local level, the future of our cities is on our hands. How can we make sure they are future-proof?
While it can take both the physical and digital infrastructure of cities years, or even decades, to become improved, expectations are higher than ever and citizens demand faster results. We often take pride in our own home town, and want to see it advance along with our own expectations and digital skill sets.
Our tiredness in slow decision-making, especially when it comes to environmental issues, makes us turn towards private businesses as problem-solvers. Companies with the right technology are expected to act and fast – so could this be your time to shine?
What’s in it for me?
For technology to truly make our lives easier, it should work invisibly and effortlessly in the background and serves all areas of life. Ideally, we would want to see technology adapt to our lifestyles, and not the other way around.
So instead of investing head on to whatever the latest craze is, first you must understand what city dwellers really need and use in their everyday lives. What are their motives and purposes of use? What would make their lives easier, are they looking for human contact or is efficiency and convenience their main driver?
The answers are going to be different not just in different markets, but in different parts of your country too. In high-density areas, what can be done to air pollution? In cities with no central hub, autonomous public transportation could answer a lot of commuting problems. It’s about knowing the people and then finding the solution.
The perfect example
The term smart city is already turning redundant, and we haven’t even reached the high-flying images of smarter urban living that we have been dreaming for years now. We at Finland can be proud though, as our capital Helsinki-Uusimaa region is truly investing in creating smarter solutions for both the people and the environment.
The Helsinki Smart Region initiative is building innovative ecosystems based on regional strengths and a smart specialisation strategy they call resource wisdom. With actions ranging from events for local communities and city blocks, to technological innovations that challenge thinking globally, the initiative brings together actors from the whole region, from large businesses and start-ups to the public sector and education system, all while working together with city dwellers.
Inspiration doesn’t need to come from afar to be effective. We just need to know where to look.