City authorities throughout the world aspire to deliver excellent services for their citizens whilst operating, maintaining and improving infrastructure.  Priorities will alter depending on city stage of development, availability of capital etc, but all cities essentially strive to facilitate economic growth and enable a good and improving quality of life. This is all whilst balancing the reality of economic and social stresses. 

However, where cities often fall down is in the integration of infrastructure and services to meet emerging social, economic and environmental requirements.  One example would be transport - a city may suffer from major pollution hotspots, but local authorities doesn’t realise that part of this is because car drivers spend too long looking for parking spaces.  If the city planners, public transport operators, retailers and emissions monitoring teams all shared their data and experiences, a solution might be found.

All cities suffer, to different extents, from “integration failure” brought about by a combination of budgetary constraints, data complexity and confidentiality - as well as imperfect communications structures.  All these factors form barriers to implementing Smart City solutions and unlocking the potential for improved integration of infrastructure and services.  So, if our goal is to deliver smart, cloud-based, flexible data integration platforms, without understanding the behavioural element of the equation, then such smart city “fixes” are doomed to failure. 

This year's CSCLeaders challenge is 'What makes a city smart?'

By 2050, nearly 75% of the world's population will live in cities. This growth creates new opportunities but also presents cities with huge economic, environmental and social challenges. Can 'Smart' solutions be found? And not just in the form of technology, but also crucially through leadership, innovation and collaboration?