What makes a Smart City ‘smart’? Dr Martin Serrano of Insight at the University of Galway has been working to answer that question. He explains all below:
In a recent report, the United Nations (UN) estimates that by 2030 more than 66% of the global population will be living in cities. The increasing use of technology for digitising services is making cities ‘smarter’. In an international collaboration between the EU and USA, Insight’s Dr Martin Serrano of the University of Galway (UoG), teamed up with the National Institute for Standards and Technology researchers, have defined what makes a city or a community ‘smart’ as well as laying out special metrics so ‘smartness’ can be properly measured. This research was supported by the NGI Explorers Programme under the EC Horizons 2020 framework.
Smart cities and communities commonly use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), when evaluating or measuring their Smart City ecosystems. However, many KPI approaches are limited by their technology, or sector-specific, focus and their inability to measure benefits essential to assessing community impact and return on investment. To overcome this limitation, an Holistic Key Performance Indicators (H-KPI) Framework has been developed. The framework builds on conventional KPI methods and takes unique characteristics into account such as; different districts and neighbourhoods, differences in population and economic scale, the reuse of previously deployed technologies and other factors relevant to a city or community. In this work, the term ‘smart’ in ‘Smart Cities’ is defined as the efficient use of digital technologies to provide prioritised services and benefits to meet community goals such as; economic vitality, equity, resilience, sustainability or quality of life.
The H-KPI Framework is detailed in NIST Special Publication 1900-206 Smart Cities and Communities: A Key Performance Indicators Framework. The Framework provides the basis for developing measurement methods and tools that allow for integration, adaptability, and extensibility at three interacting levels of analysis: technologies, infrastructure services, and community benefits. The publication describes the H-KPI method which provides a structured representation of smart city/community information flows and enables computational methods for systems design, analysis, operations and assurance. The five core metrics of the method are:
• alignment of KPIs with community priorities across districts and neighborhoods;
• investment alignment with community priorities;
• investment efficiency;
• information flow density; and
• quality of infrastructure services and community benefits.
Applications of the H-KPI methodology include strategic planning, systems design and assurance, and operations management. The approach will benefit future efforts in the NIST smart cities and communities programme including the NIST Global City Teams Challenge.
Equipped with tools to measure progress, cities and communities can now navigate their course to a smarter future for their residents and businesses.
You can read more about the H-KPI framework in the technical report here
A shorter article on this international achievement can be found here