Definition:A single customer view is a consistent and holistic representation of the data held by an organisation about its customers that can be viewed in one place.
As a Strata Manager, How much do you really know your customers? How much valuable information is really falling through the cracks? How much would you benefit if all that valuable information was captured and displayed in one user friendly location?
As strata managers are constantly having to do more with less, tighter budgets, fewer people, it seems like the only thing abundant is data and information that is or could be getting captured. That said, data and information is only valuable to a business when it can be accessed and interpreted quickly.
A serious and common issue in the strata industry is that all this information is kept in disparate locations, in either email folders, paper in filing cabinets, staff desktops, maintenance systems or server based financial software’s designed in the 90’s, making it difficult to keep a complete and clear overview of each customer.
With that in mind, Stratafy set out to design and develop a single customer view module, part of a greater ecosystem, which allows strata managers and building managers to draw value from on a daily basis but more importantly in a user friendly way.
Stratafy’s Single Customer View module is unique in the market. The Single Customer View, Single Lot View and Single Building View allows managers to see and access all vital information in one location without having to click through and dig deep into archaic server based software systems to find what you need. Everything from customer contact information, financials, email correspondence, maintenance requests, through to relevant building information like insurances can be accessed all in one location.
5 key benefits of a single customer view
A single customer view saves Strata Managers time they might have spent trying to find the relevant information required. It’ll eliminate guesswork and gives Strata Managers an accurate understanding of their customer, the lot their customer lives in and the building they are part of, all at a glance.
2. Improved Customer Satisfaction
By having all the information required linked and accessible in one location, Strata Managers can pull up exactly what a customer may be referring to and more, all from one location very quickly, resulting in happier customers.
3. Optimised Customer Services
Quite simply, unifying data in this way makes it easier for Strata Managers to see and understand their customers, predict their behaviours and improve customer service.
4. Up to date customer information
The creation of a single customer view has the added advantage of presenting your customers data as clean, accurate, up-to-date and consistent to all areas of your business.
5. Improved analytical capabilities
As per point four above, there are added benefits to having data in a consistent and up-to-date format, another key benefit is having it connected to Stratafy’s Business intelligence module, allowing you to run dynamic reports on overall business activities, everything from total dollars spent on plumbing, time taken to close a maintenance request through to total portfolio reporting.
Want to know more about Stratafy’s Single Customer View Module and how it can help your business, book a demo today.
Today, systems integrators are an important part of the equation in installing automation or IT systems, but there is a huge opportunity to take services to the next level.
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Casey Talon, a research director with Navigant Research.
Whether the topic is the internet of things (IoT), AI, or everything as a service, technology disruption in business is generating a lot of buzz.
It is no different in the world of real estate and facilities management. Today, competitive advantage for any business can be dependent on technology investment. The occupant experience in buildings can be the factor in choosing where customers work, study, shop, or even vacation. Thus, the commercial building is becoming synonymous with its tenants’ brand — which likely involves commitment to health and wellness, sustainability, technology innovation, or even productivity. Building owners recognize this pressure for technology-enhanced experience, and the result is new momentum in the smart buildings market.
While today’s building systems are digital and have been for decades, they are underutilized and operating in isolation. Building owners do not realize the full benefit of the capabilities — and more importantly, the data — behind their digital building systems. When digital systems are deployed successfully, data is translated into real business insights and decision-making. These insights, in turn, facilitate the transformation of commercial facilities into true smart buildings.
Building owners need partners that can deploy integrated and interoperable digital systems for better occupant experiences and operational and energy efficiency for bottom-line improvements. Today, systems integrators are an important part of the equation in installing automation or IT systems, but there is a huge opportunity to take services to the next level.
A new breed of master systems integrators like Stratafy who come ready plug and play fully connected will become key strategic partners that work alongside technology vendors and manufacturers to deliver full end-to-end smart building solutions. These solutions will leverage multiple system types along with the necessary networking and analytics.
How can property managers /strata managers become MSIs?
Building owners and real estate managers need trusted partners that can manage technology deployment, programming, and management across different systems types such as HVAC, lighting, parking, and sensors. The smart buildings market will gain momentum when service providers broaden their skill sets and MSIs emerge to enable interoperability for seamless evolution to data-driven, continuous operational improvement.
The transformation of a commercial facility into a smart building requires cross-disciplinary expertise, data and analytics, and cybersecurity. Burgeoning MSIs could enable and even catalyze this process by offering the following:
Seamless integration of information technologies, building automation, and new IoT infrastructure requires cross-discipline expertise. A unified smart buildings approach is necessary to generate, communicate, and analyze data on equipment performance and space utilization to drive operational efficiency and enhanced occupant experiences.
Many people believe that building their own system is simple, but thats where innovation will be your biggest cost where you dont know what your doing and not innovating quick enough. Expectations are higher then ever to build and deliver products and service that meets the demand.
Customers will rely on partners like Stratafy to deploy the necessary new or enhanced hardware and communications to begin the transformation of their facilities into smart buildings. Today, however, less than 10% of respondents define their business as a “smart buildings integrator.” This gap was further explained when those surveyed were asked about their company’s domain knowledge. 68% chose building automation systems/building management systems, and only 29% chose IT networking and communications.
While this survey had a small sample, it is representative of the market and reflects the current gap in service provider knowledge across IT and OT systems. Technical expertise across both IT and building automation/OT categories is paramount because this knowledge is required for the integration of systems that are fully interoperable to achieve the potential of smart buildings.
Data analytics are the key to translating the ever-growing array of building data into insight and action resulting in streamlined operations, optimized headcount, and accurate budgeting. Customers expect smart building solutions are built on analytics, but market leading service providers utilize analytics to amplify and refine their offerings. When analytics are embedded in the service process, they deliver stronger customer offerings, but also more efficient delivery for the service providers.
Although only 65% of respondents reported offering smart building analytics, 91% stated they believe expertise in software analytics and associated services differentiate certain integrators in the market today. The opportunity is here for service providers to utilize analytics to optimize their business and integrate offerings into the services they offer their customers.
Cybersecurity should become an immediate concern for building owners and subsequently for MSIs. It is well documented that since the mid-1980s, building systems have become digital and internet-connected, which amounts to millions of systems installed without traditional IT skill sets or cybersecurity best practices. The need for cybersecurity policies and procedures is even more important as customers expect more interoperability and integration to achieve the full promise of smart buildings.
The time is right
The systems integrator market is healthy, but fragmented. The landscape is defined by a broad array of companies small to large, public and private, and local to multinational. Most respondents in our survey have worked at their companies for over a decade, and the businesses have reported healthy revenue growth of more than 10% in the last 3 years. These characteristics suggest the time is right for consolidation to offer broader capabilities and reach. The right leadership can introduce a new breed of MSIs ready to drive the mass-market adoption of smart building technologies.
Most importantly bringing multiple systems together that can have you operating in weeks not months or years is crucial and thats where Stratafy adds the greatest value.
Make your building connected quick and seamless across a number of different type of stakeholders
How Stratafy helps?
Stratafy comes as an easy solution to connect with integrators or better yet a plug and play system that gets you up and running in weeks not months or years. We seamlessly connect your ecosystem. Schedule a demo and you will see exactly how we have changed the property space.
An award winning solution that connects People to Property.
Who are the taxi drivers of the property industry?
This is the question we were all asking of one of the world’s most influential proptech analysts, James Dearsley, at Australia’s Proptech Summit last week.
Proptech is much more than a buzzword. The world’s largest early stage proptech advisory and accelerator, MetaProp, says investor confidence is rising rapidly. About $US12.6 billion was poured into proptech start-ups last year alone, and MetaProp expects acquisitions to increase by 75 per cent over the next 12 months.
This investment is being fuelled by both the inefficiency and ubiquity of property.
Property is known as a highly traditional sector, which is an extraordinary outcome when you consider every person lives, works and plays in property and the lives we lead have been fundamentally altered by technology.
The proptech ecosystem is growing rapidly, but there is no “single source of truth” to help the real estate sector understand what’s going on – which is why Dearsley is mapping the global proptech market and its 8000 or so start-ups.
Dearsley has identified 205 proptech companies in Australia but thinks there are more to be uncovered.
Some Australian property companies are striding out ahead. Charter Hall’s accelerator program is working with four proptech start-ups, InSpaceXR, BricksandAgent.com, Snaploader and Estate Baron, to test virtual reality, cloud, 3D modelling and blockchain.
In July, Lendlease and JLL launched Propell Asia, a Singapore-based regional proptech accelerator that gives proptech start-ups access to the entire real estate value chain to trial and validate their products.
Australia’s property companies could connect with a new proptech start-up every day of the week – but each start-up solves just one problem, or even just a piece of that problem.
This overload of solutions is why 98 per cent of healthtech start-ups fail and it is likely we will see similar rates in proptech.
The smart money will look at how to get aggregation. So expect collaboration and consolidation as the founders of these 8000-plus start-ups look for opportunities to merge.
Technology cannot be “tech for tech’s sake”. It must create a better experience or solve a problem – even if it’s one we don’t know exists.
We could get from A to B before Uber arrived on the scene. But Uber’s technology removed pain points we didn’t know we had – like the unwelcome inconvenience of paying for the fare at the end of the ride.
What are the pain points in property? We should all know – we are in property all the time.
The answer is found in knowing your customer, understanding how they move through their day and where you can remove friction.
We are spending billions of dollars on assets – but are we investing in the areas that customers actually care about?
At EY, we are already building AI architecture and customer analytics tools to help our clients make data-based decision making.
We are already seeing technology-enabled business models emerge. It’s about creating a different mindset to that of the traditional property player.
Company leaders need to immerse themselves in this new world. Technology is rewriting the rules for just about everything. As James Dearsley says, it is reinventing job descriptions and reimagining businesses.
It is creating new industries and eliminating others. The property industry will survive that same phenomenon that created Uber and changed the taxi industry. But only for those companies that are prepared to rethink the new normal.
Selina Short, EY managing partner for real estate, hospitality and construction
We have seen it before with Taxi’s Vs. Uber, technology will come and disrupt those who don’t let it become apart of your business. With Stratafy its not a cost but cost savings, risk mitigation, new revenue and a better user experience. Get in touch today to see how.
An award winning solution that connects People to Property.
The real estate industry appears to have reached a turning point. This time, I am not (just) talking about proptech. Slowly but surely, there has been a big shift away from traditional asset management and towards ’the service of real estate’.
I noticed this shift had really taken hold when, back in June, I attended Mipim Proptech in Paris. There, the recurring buzzword during most panels was ’customer experience’.
I broached the topic in my inaugural piece forProperty Week and it boils down to this: the advent of tech has made a much more dynamic form of portfolio management possible, which is prompting a shift in business models, even for more conservative players such as British Land.
Firms are pivoting from traditional asset management models – hilariously described during one panel as “buying an asset, collecting rents and hoping you never get a call from your tenants” – to structuring intelligent solutions to serve customers’ needs and maximise both their top- and bottom-line returns.
The glue that holds this all together is tech. As we learn how to analyse and share data better with other stakeholders, we will be able to micromanage our assets in real time. According to the recent Emerging Trends in Real Estatereport by PwC and ULI, in this late stage of the cycle, tech will be a crucial way for owners and operators to improve or maintain the performance of assets in a downturn. This is enhanced by the fact that changing occupier requirements and greater information transparency have sped up the timescale for building obsolescence, engendering the need for building and portfolio flexibility.
Property players are starting to invest in tech to service this need for flexibility, although they still have a long way to go, as real estate still has the lowest spending in IT of any business sector.
Notable examples discussed at Mipim Proptech are Gecina’s investment into IoT for its residential portfolio or Prelios’s foray into big-data-driven analytics to power its valuation models. These companies are hiring talent from outside the traditional real estate sphere to get the job done and are leveraging a mix of traditional skills and knowledge of newer tech and business models.
Recognising that big companies are not the best environment for innovation, JLL set up Spark as its digital investment entity, with a dual mission: to grow the business and safeguard it from competition. It is looking for investments that will give it the flexibility to service specific segments. For example, with smaller customers, tech could allow it to capture new markets. But Spark is also investing in spaces that could disrupt JLL’s existing business model, such as online marketplaces, turning a potential threat into an asset.
Property companies cannot afford to be complacent about their business model”
Historically, real estate players only competed with each other. The immense investments required to build up a significant portfolio were effective barriers to entry. Now, as the lines between real estate and tech blur, a threat is emerging. Tech mammoths are showing a keen interest in the physical space – just think of Google’s smart city project in Toronto or Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.
Investors, owners and stakeholders cannot afford to be complacent about their business models. They must endeavour to get ahead of the curve – not just to stave off competition from their peers and protect their returns, but to ward off cannibalisation from hitherto inconceivable new entrants. Investing in the service of real estate is the correct way forward, but more stakeholders need to deploy more capital into it.
Angelica Donati is chief executive of Donati Immobiliare Group
As a mobile first focus, Stratafy becomes the key to ensuring the owners and tenants are front of mind. The use of technology like Stratafy support property managers thrive with technology. The opportunity is here and Stratafy can support you exisiting business model. Get in touch today for an obligation free demonstration.
An award winning solution that connects People to Property.
Higher density means building up — more apartments and townhouses — and on smaller blocks of land.
But some experts say not enough thought has been put into the way housing stock is developed, both in the inner city and suburban fringe.
So what should we be thinking about when we plan for a Big Australia?
One benefit put forward by supporters of higher density living is a reduction in cars and an increase in public transport use, as well as walking and cycling as modes of transport.
“But that depends on where the development is located,” Ian Woodcock from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University counters.
“There’s an argument that in order to get more people to shift to sustainable mode of transport we need to have a higher density, that the reward, if you like, for higher density living is more public transport and more people walking.
“Even in the city, where the public transport is relatively good and it’s relatively walkable, you still need other things like your school and your shops and your doctor nearby.
“In many cities in Australia we don’t have the networks to match.”
In Australia, new higher density housing developments are, more often than not, built with car spaces.
They’re also not restricted to the inner city.
Dr Woodcock points out you can easily buy a seventh-floor apartment in the outer Melbourne growth suburb of Caroline Springs, despite the fact public transport and other amenities are limited.
People who live there will still rely on cars as their main method of transport, he said.
Dr Woodcock said many places overseas, such as in Europe or Japan, have stopped “knocking things down” to build more roads in an attempt to reduce congestion.
Boosting public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure is critical when housing density is increased.
Billie Giles-Corti, from the RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research, agrees.
She stressed the need to build new homes close to good public transport and jobs.
“If we build high-density housing where people continue to drive at the rate they do now, you can imagine the congestion that’s going to put on the road,” she said.
“That’s bad for the quality of air, it’s bad for people sitting in the car getting hostile, it’s bad for the productivity of the country and it’s bad for health.”
Building for people
If we build up, more and more Australians will likely raise their families in apartments, townhouses and smaller homes with smaller backyards.
But Professor Giles-Corti said larger scale projects are often built without this notion in mind.
“We need to be thinking very carefully here. We’ve got a golden opportunity and Australia’s population could double by 2050 and we need to do that in a sustainable and healthy way,” she said.
“You can have some [building] height in there but it needs to be designed for people, not for some flashy architectural experience. People have to live there.”
Professor Giles-Corti pointed to places like Sweden, where developments are built at a more “human scale” of three to five storeys.
“That’s where we will come unstuck in Australia,” she said.
“Families don’t want to live in six-storey-high buildings, and parents are not going to let their kids walk around neighbourhoods with big storey buildings, simply because there’s too many strangers.
Professor Giles-Corti said it was vital to include age-appropriate facilities for children within buildings so parents don’t have to constantly watch their children, and also the surrounding neighbourhood so older kids have some independence.
“If you go to New York for example, you’ll see all through the city there are basketball hoops, and you’ll always see kids out playing basketball. You see 13-year-olds going down to the park with their skateboards and coming back at dusk,” she said.
When it comes to planning for older people, the ability to have “selective interactions” is important, according to Professor Giles-Corti.
“You may not want to hang out with other people all the time, but in buildings there needs to be a place where people can interact with each other — a community garden, a men’s shed,” she said.
She said things like lap pools and gyms might look good, but they are often a waste of the limited shared space available.
Creativity on the fringe
It’s not just about apartments and high-rise developments.
Professor Giles-Corti said Australia also needs to think about building in a more “compact way” on the suburban fringes.
In Australia, she said, new suburbs or developments often come before amenities like schools, child care and employment opportunities.
“The danger with what we’re doing at the moment is we’re using the same model for low-density housing that we’ve always used, so big houses now on smaller lots, which means there’s no green space around the houses,” she said.
“I think that’s a real challenge for the development sector, to do a much better job with providing a different kind of housing stock.
“We could champion that in Australia, we need to be doing something differently and I don’t think development has really stepped up on this one.”
Out and about in green spaces
As small backyards, or no backyards, become more common, parks and public green spaces become critical in providing places for people of all ages to be active.
Jenny Veitch from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University said with less space to move about at home there can be a reduction in incidental activity, like pottering around the yard or doing odd jobs.
“And if you’re not climbing the stairs, you’re using the lift in the apartment. And also if you’re [living] in a smaller space the activities within that space are much more likely to be a low-level activity,” she said.
Dr Veitch said encouraging people to get out and about came down to the way public and semi-private neighbourhood spaces are designed.
“It’s even more important than ever that our green spaces are preserved, and we’re not selling them off,” Dr Veitch said.
“We know that a lot of our open spaces are not designed to meet the needs and really provide what people need to be active.
“My latest research found most park visitors were either lying, sitting or standing and only about 29 per cent were engaging in even moderate physical activity. We also know they’re underutilised.”
She said more thought needs to be put into street design — for example, children are more likely to play in cul-de-sacs and courts — and amenities like quality lighting and traffic safety.
Making these areas attractive and easy for people to access can also encourage more social interaction.
“We have these public spaces that can attract people to gather and interact with others, which has huge [mental health] benefits as well as physical,” she said.
Learning to share
Dr Veitch said Australia can often get caught up in the “rules” around sharing private and semi-private property.
She said thinking creatively, like opening up space to the community after hours, or encouraging schools to share with nearby schools or the wider public, could help utilise existing space.
“Lots of schools, they close the gates and lock them up and they can’t be used. It’s being more open minded to making better use of the spaces and facilities we do have,” she said.
Professor Giles-Corti believes mixing new homes in with shopping centres and businesses was another way to use space efficiently.
“I look at these low-rise activity centres where you’ve got a big retail centre but no housing on top and you think ‘that’s a just a missed opportunity’. People could be living there or nearby.”
As cities get smarter, they are becoming more livable and more responsive—and today we are seeing only a preview of what technology could eventually do in the urban environment.
Until recently, city leaders thought of smart technologies primarily as tools for becoming more efficient behind the scenes. Now technology is being injected more directly into the lives of residents. Smartphones have become the keys to the city, putting instant information about transit, traffic, health services, safety alerts, and community news into millions of hands.
Smart cities: How technology can deliver a better quality of life
Today, cities are moving beyond the pilot stage and using data and digital technologies to deliver results that are more relevant and meaningful to residents.
After a decade of trial and error, municipal leaders are realizing that smart-city strategies start with people, not technology. “Smartness” is not just about installing digital interfaces in traditional infrastructure or streamlining city operations. It is also about using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.
Quality of life has many dimensions, from the air residents breathe to how safe they feel walking the streets. The latest report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future (PDF–6MB), analyzes how dozens of digital applications address these kinds of practical and very human concerns. It finds that cities can use smart technologies to improve some key quality-of-life indicators by 10 to 30 percent—numbers that translate into lives saved, fewer crime incidents, shorter commutes, a reduced health burden, and carbon emissions averted.
Smart cities put data and digital technology to work to make better decisions and improve the quality of life. More comprehensive, real-time data gives agencies the ability to watch events as they unfold, understand how demand patterns are changing, and respond with faster and lower-cost solutions.
Three layers work together to make a smart city hum (Exhibit 1). First is the technology base, which includes a critical mass of smartphones and sensors connected by high-speed communication networks. The second layer consists of specific applications. Translating raw data into alerts, insight, and action requires the right tools, and this is where technology providers and app developers come in. The third layer is usage by cities, companies, and the public. Many applications succeed only if they are widely adopted and manage to change behavior. They encourage people to use transit during off-hours, to change routes, to use less energy and water and to do so at different times of day, and to reduce strains on the healthcare system through preventive self-care.
Smart-city technologies have substantial unrealized potential to improve the urban quality of life
MGI assessed how smart-city applications could affect various quality-of-life dimensions: safety, time and convenience, health, environmental quality, social connectedness and civic participation, jobs, and the cost of living (see interactive). The wide range of outcomes reflects the fact that applications perform differently from city to city, depending on factors such as legacy infrastructure systems and on baseline starting points.
Applications can help cities fight crime and improve other aspects of public safety
Deploying a range of applications to their maximum effect could potentially reduce fatalities (from homicide, road traffic, and fires) by 8 to 10 percent. In a high-crime city with a population of five million, this could mean saving up to 300 lives each year. Incidents of assault, robbery, burglary, and auto theft could be lowered by 30 to 40 percent. On top of these metrics are the incalculable benefits of giving residents freedom of movement and peace of mind.
Technology is not a quick fix for crime, but agencies can use data to deploy scarce resources and personnel more effectively. Real-time crime mapping, for instance, utilizes statistical analysis to highlight patterns, while predictive policing goes a step further, anticipating crime to head off incidents before they occur. When incidents do occur, applications such as gunshot detection, smart surveillance, and home security systems can accelerate law-enforcement response. But data-driven policing has to be deployed in a way that protects civil liberties and avoids criminalizing specific neighborhoods or demographic groups.
Seconds count when lives are at stake, making speed critical for first responders in getting to the scene of emergencies. Smart systems can optimize call centers and field operations, while traffic-signal preemption gives emergency vehicles a clear driving path. These types of applications could cut emergency response times by 20 to 35 percent. A city with an already low response time of eight minutes could shave off almost two minutes. A city starting with an average response time of 50 minutes might be able to trim that by more than 17 minutes.
Smart-city technologies can make daily commutes faster and less frustrating
Tens of millions of people in cities worldwide begin and end every workday fuming in traffic or piling into overcrowded buses and trains. Improving the daily commute is critical to quality of life.
By 2025, cities that deploy smart-mobility applications have the potential to cut commuting times by 15 to 20 percent on average, with some people enjoying even larger reductions. The potential associated with each application is highly variable, depending on each city’s density, existing transit infrastructure, and commuting patterns. In a dense city with extensive transit, smart technologies could save the average commuter almost 15 minutes a day. In a developing city with more grueling commutes, the improvement might be 20 to 30 minutes every day.
In general, cities with extensive, well-used transit systems benefit from applications that streamline the experience for riders. Using digital signage or mobile apps to deliver real-time information about delays enables riders to adjust their routes on the fly. Installing IoT sensors on existing physical infrastructure can help crews fix problems before they turn into breakdowns and delays.
Applications that ease road congestion are more effective in cities where driving is prevalent or where buses are the primary mode of transit. Intelligent syncing of traffic signals has the potential to reduce average commutes by more than 5 percent in developing cities where most people travel by bus. Real-time navigation alerts drivers to delays and helps them choose the fastest route. Smart-parking apps point them directly to available spots, eliminating time spent fruitlessly circling city blocks.
Cities can be catalysts for better health
The sheer density of cities makes them critical although currently underutilized platforms for addressing health. Recognizing that the role of technology in healthcare is broad and evolving by the day, we analyze only digital applications that offer cities room to play a role. We quantify their potential impact on disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), the primary metric used by the World Health Organization to convey the global disease burden, reflecting not only years of life lost to early death but also productive and healthy life lost to disability or incapacity. If cities deploy the applications included in our analyses to their fullest effect, we see the potential to reduce DALYs by 8 to 15 percent.
Applications that help prevent, treat, and monitor chronic conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, could make the biggest difference in the developed world. Remote-patient-monitoring systems have the potential to reduce the health burden in high-income cities by more than 4 percent. These systems use digital devices to take vital readings, then transmit them securely to doctors in another location for assessment. This data can alert both patient and doctor when early intervention is needed, heading off complications and hospitalizations.
Cities can use data and analytics to identify demographic groups with elevated risk profiles and target interventions more precisely. So-called mHealth interventions can send out lifesaving messages about vaccinations, sanitation, safe sex, and adherence to antiretroviral therapy regimens. In low-income cities with high infant-mortality rates, data-based interventions focused on maternal and child health alone could reduce DALYs by more than 5 percent. Another 5 percent reduction is possible if developing cities use infectious-disease surveillance systems to stay a step ahead of fast-moving epidemics. Telemedicine, which provides clinical consultations by videoconference, can also be lifesaving in low-income cities with doctor shortages.
Smart cities can deliver a cleaner and more sustainable environment
As urbanization, industrialization, and consumption grow, environmental pressures multiply. Applications such as building-automation systems, dynamic electricity pricing, and some mobility applications could combine to cut emissionsby 10 to 15 percent.
Water-consumption tracking, which pairs advanced metering with digital feedback messages, can nudge people toward conservation and reduce consumption by 15 percent in cities where residential water usage is high. In many parts of the developing world, the biggest source of water waste is leakage from pipes. Deploying sensors and analytics can cut those losses by up to 25 percent. Applications such as pay-as-you-throw digital tracking can reduce the volume of solid waste per capita by 10 to 20 percent. Overall, cities can save 25 to 80 liters of water per person each day and reduce unrecycled solid waste by 30 to 130 kilograms per person annually.
Air-quality sensors do not automatically address the causes of pollution, but they can identify the sources and provide the basis for further action. Beijing reduced deadly airborne pollutants by roughly 20 percent in less than a year by closely tracking the sources of pollution and regulating traffic and construction accordingly. Sharing real-time air-quality information with the public via smartphone apps enables individuals to take protective measures. This can reduce negative health effects by 3 to 15 percent, depending on current pollution levels.
Smart cities can create a new type of digital urban commons and enhance social connectedness
Community is hard to quantify, but MGI surveyed urban residents to determine if digital channels for communicating with local officials as well as digital platforms that facilitate real-world interactions (such as Meetup and Nextdoor) can have an impact. Our analysis suggests that using these types of applications could nearly double the share of residents who feel connected to the local community, and nearly triple the share who feel connected to local government.
Establishing channels for two-way communication between the public and local agencies could make city governments more responsive. Many city agencies maintain an active presence on social networks, and others have developed their own interactive citizen apps. In addition to disseminating information, these channels create vehicles for residents to report concerns, collect data, or weigh in on planning issues. Paris has implemented a participatory budget, inviting anyone to post project ideas and then holding online votes to decide which ones merit funding.
Our view of each city’s technology base looked at the extent of sensors and devices, the quality of communication networks, and the presence of open data portals. Among the most advanced are Amsterdam, New York, Seoul, Singapore, and Stockholm—but even these front-runners are only about two-thirds of the way toward what constitutes a fully comprehensive technology base today. In general, cities across China, East Asia, Europe, and North America have relatively strong tech bases, as do select cities in the Middle East. But those in Africa, India, and Latin America lag behind, particularly in installing the sensor layer, the most capital-intensive element.
We gauged each city’s progress in implementation using a checklist of current smart applications. Mobility has been a top priority for most cities, but those places with the highest number of applications implemented overall—London, Los Angeles, New York, Seoul, Shenzhen, and Singapore—have branched out into multiple domains. Some cities have not yet implemented the applications with the greatest potential to address some of their priority issues.
MGI conducted online surveys in all of the cities analyzed to gauge how residents feel about the technologies already at work in their environment. We found that Asian cities are the strongest performers in awareness, usage, and satisfaction, while European cities lag. Positive adoption and awareness appear correlated with having a young population that not only accepts a more digital way of doing things but also expects it.
Smart cities change the economics of infrastructure and create room for partnerships and private-sector participation
Smart-city technologies help cities get more out of their assets, whether they have extensive legacy systems or are building from scratch. There is no getting around the need to invest in physical assets and maintenance, but smart technologies can add new capabilities as core components are upgraded.
Infrastructure investment once locked cities into capital-intensive and extremely long-term plans. Now, using the right combination of traditional construction and smart solutions, they can respond more dynamically to how demand is changing. If population growth surges in a far-flung neighborhood, adding a new subway or bus line with the accompanying fleet expansion may take years. By contrast, a privately operated on-demand minibus service could be up and running much faster.
City government does not have to be the sole funder and operator of every type of service and infrastructure system. While implementing most of the applications that we examined would fall to the public sector, the majority of the initial investment could come from private actors (Exhibit 2). Public financing may be reserved for only those public goods that must be provided by the government. Furthermore, more than half of the initial investment that needs to be made by the public sector would generate a positive financial return, which opens the door to partnerships.
Adding more actors to the mix is a positive, since it increases adoption and applies more creativity to the available data. When private-sector innovations spring up organically, the role of government may involve regulating, convening key actors, offering subsidies, or changing purchasing decisions. Rather than taking a master-planning approach, some cities position themselves as ecosystems, creating consortia and even physical collaboration spaces.
Some cities are starting their transformations with inherent advantages such as wealth, density, and existing high-tech industries. But even places that lack these ingredients can set themselves apart with vision, good management, a willingness to break with conventional ways of doing things, and a relentless commitment to meeting the needs of residents. There are many blank canvases for the private sector, not for profits, and technologists to fill—and above all, individuals should be empowered to shape the future of the cities they call home.