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Hyperconnected City Index: Unlock Value from Your Smart Cities Investments

Written in collaboration with Lou Celi, Chief Executive and Founder, ESI ThoughtLab

Businesses and urban residents are embracing technological innovation faster than many cities can react. With digital change happening in hyper-speed, urban leaders need to act now to bridge the technology gap between their cities and stakeholders.

Those who adopt game-changing technologies and data solutions will enable stakeholders to fully realize the benefits of working and residing in their communities. Ultimately, this will allow civic leaders to fuel a virtuous cycle of economic and social growth and well-being that will attract additional business, talent, and investment.

Hyperconnected cities unlock the greatest economic and social value by leveraging technology to transform and interconnect key areas of their urban ecosystem — from roads to cars, buildings with energy grids, citizens with government, business with academia, and cities with other cities.

ESI ThoughtLab announced in May the launch of its 2019 Smart City Research Initiative, Building a Hyperconnected City focused on business models, use cases, and benchmarks behind high performance. Given the rapid pace of digital change, urban leaders need an evidence-based playbook to help them identify the technologies and data solutions that will provide the greatest social, economic, and business benefits to citizens and companies.

To provide city leaders with the analysis they need to create digitally-enabled and interlinked urban ecosystems, ESI ThoughtLab has formed a coalition of top companies with expertise in key sectors within cities. This coalition includes Deloitte, Oracle, Eaton Lighting, NTT Group, Stantec, Pennoni, Nokia, Cognizant, Microsoft, GM, and Visa. The coalition also comprises research leaders from the private and public sectors, including the Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER), the Penn Institute of Urban Research, the IESE Business School Cities in Motion, MetroLab Network, Viable Cities, the Smart Cities Council, Renaissance Urbaine, ANBOUND, the Re-Imagining Cities Foundation, and more.

Building on ESI ThoughtLab’s Smarter Cities 2025 research launched in 2018, this year’s initiative is based on a rigorous benchmarking exercise involving over 100 smart cities of varying sizes, locations, and levels of economic development. The study will harness data from the smart cities themselves, respected secondary sources, and corporate and research members of the coalition. In addition, ESI ThoughtLab is conducting in-depth interviews with key city leaders to gain insight into best practices and proven use cases of smart initiatives, with ROI analysis, in key areas of the urban ecosystem.

The goal of the research is to create a business case and roadmap to becoming a high-performing city of the future. Drawing on unique benchmarking data from cities, ESI ThoughtLab will create a Hyperconnected City Index. This tool will allow ESI ThoughtLab’s economists to compare the investments, plans and performance results of over 100 cities with their stages of hyperconnected maturity.

Specifically, the index will measure how these cities are hyperconnected across four key dimensions: connected citizen, technology, data and analytics, and cybersecurity. Each pillar is supported by data from several survey questions. A score is assigned to each question, and the scores for the individual questions are normalized and then combined to arrive at a pillar score. The pillar scores are then combined into an aggregate Hyperconnected Cities Index.

  • Connected citizen: the connected citizen pillar measures how well cities engage with their key stakeholders and the methods they use to communicate and interact.
  • Technology: the technology pillar examines the digital technologies that cities use, and how and where they use them.
  • Data and Analytics: the data and analytics pillar evaluates a city’s approach to gathering, using, and managing data; the types of data used; and where the city is using data to drive results.
  • Cybersecurity: the cybersecurity pillar assesses how prepared cities are for cybersecurity attacks and the risk mitigation steps they are taking.

We are excited to be working with such an outstanding coalition of organizations on this ground-breaking study. It will enable cities to benchmark themselves against their global peers and fill the missing ingredient for many cities’ programs — the concrete business case. We encourage you to draw on our analysis when it is released at the Smart Cities Expo World Congress in Barcelona in November 2019.

Franco Amalfi is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. He leads the go to market strategy for smarter government for Oracle Public Sector North America. Franco advises government officials on how to leverage modern cloud-based solutions and emerging technologies to help government organizations deliver personalized government services. In addition to working with customers, Franco authors, publishes white papers and articles on leveraging technology to drive business value for governments. He is also a frequent speaker at government conferences. He is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada and has completed an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation, and Technology at MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, USA. You can read his posts here.

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