You’ve no doubt heard of the smart city initiative that has been going on in the United Kingdom for several years now. This involves putting a number of projects into motion that is designed to give people a better experience while living in a larger city. Some of these projects involve decreasing exhaust fumes in the air, as well as ensuring that trash cans are emptied on a regular basis.
Others cover important things like tracking traffic to warn commuters about accidents and even making the city a greener, more environmentally friendly place to live. As you can imagine, cities are spending quite a bit of money to put all of these things into motion. How much are they getting back? What’s the return on investment (ROI)?
The ROI of Smart Cities
It can be a bit tricky to track the actual ROI of a smart city initiative. After all, you know how much that the city planners are spending, but what are they getting back? The funding is an important piece of the puzzle, as the city planners must find room in their budgets for things like Invipo, which helps them collect and use the data that’s required as a part of their tracking systems.
Some of the many things that are tracked as a part of a smart city initiative include public transportation routes (are more buses needed on a certain route at a particular point in the day?) to water consumption and utility usage (is a certain part of town using much more water than usual? There might be a broken water main.) This information is crucial because, without it, the smart city initiative would fail.
The problem is determining how much to spend to not only collect and store that data, but also how much money is needed to go over the information. There are a number of cloud-based and non-cloud-based options, although the cloud-based ones are more efficient and allow for constant monitoring. However, all of this neglects to mention the main issue, which is the ROI of all of these things.
Determining the ROI
A good smart city initiative planner knows all about these systems and everything that they put into place. They also have developed a series of models that can determine that ROI. These models include looking at a number of factors, including social media.
Yes, things like tweets, Facebook posts, and even pictures uploaded to Instagram (all of which are collected anyway as a part of the smart city initiative) are able to show the city planners just how their efforts are paying off.
Are people able to make it work on time despite a bad accident on a major road, thanks to signs with alternate routes that went up once the system determined what was going on? Are overflowing trash cans on city streets a thing of the past? Are bus routes better planned? Do those buses create less smog? It sounds odd to have to monitor the happiness of a city’s residents, but in order to determine the ROI of these plans, it must be done.
Surveys Help As Well
The planner of a smart city initiative no doubt can develop some sort of program that allows for resident feedback. If necessary, they can ask the residents of the city to fill out a survey every so often that contains questions about the initiative.
For example, if the planner is trying to make the city more environmentally friendly, then they can ask questions about this specific topic. Those responses can be added to the database, where they can be analyzed and compared to future survey results.
In this way, the planner has a way to determining if the smart city initiative is working, and just how much more they need to do in order to make it a success. They can also see if there’s a measurable ROI.
In some cases, these smart city initiatives can be measured by direct comparison in order to determine the ROI. For example, the planner can survey local businesses to see if they have seen an uptick in the number of customers that they receive.
This is one sign that the city is springing back – people aren’t going outside of the city to shop because it’s a better-organized place. This data, like all of the others, can be added to the overall database and brought up again and again as a point of comparison.
Overall, if these city planners want their smart city initiatives to continue on, then they need to prove that they work. The best way to do this is by showing that there is a good, solid return on investment, or ROI, for every dollar spent on these programs.