The evolution of technology and local government will be centered on helping municipalities keep pace with the speed and magnitude of change and heightened operational flexibility in 2015 and beyond, according to researchers from IDC Government Insights.
Analysts from the IT advisory and market intelligence firm delivered those comments and more on Wednesday as a part of the Worldwide Smart Cities 2015 Predictions presentation. IDC's top 10 list of imperatives spotlighted the maturity of smart cities, expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), increased emphasis on resilience and a need for innovative IT sourcing techniques through 2018.
The top 10 list includes:
Ruthbea Clarke, research director of IDC Government Insights, said a surprising finding was the impact severe weather and climate change will have on municipalities. She expects weather planning will play a sigfnicant role with city IT planning and technology investments in the future.
Clarke's colleague, Gerald Wang, research manager of IDC Government Insights, agreed and predicted that severe weather patterns would drive collaboration between cities, resulting in a more proactive approach.
“[Cities] need to leverage predictive and intelligent response technology,” Wang said. “Computational modeling to help public safety responders and cities prevent and mitigate damage to property and people.”
In addition, Clarke said she felt social media will have a much bigger impact beyond public safety use in the years ahead. Primarily, IDC sees social media as a keystone to a city's reputation, particularly as citizens and tourists comment about what they see in an area.
In regard to the Internet of Things, Clarke recommended that cities appoint a leader who can align IT and business units to best use data. IDC also noted that municipalities should take advantage of “early wins” such as streetlight automation and garbage bin monitoring to set the groundwork for benefits realization and process change.
Wang discussed IT procurement, and the need for expanded and innovative tech purchasing strategies. He said public-private partnerships would be the catalyst to drive new IT sourcing models and encouraged cities to explore pre-procurement mechanisms and direct contracting, particularly for prototypes or first-in-the-world solutions.
Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology magazine from 2011 to mid-2015.