Smart city programmes and open data initiatives will benefit 50 percent of citizens in million-people cities by 2019, according to market research firm Gartner.
In a new report, Gartner said the technological and societal change in the past decade has forced governments to start testing the waters and become tech affluent.
This has already started in some major cities, where governments have led smart city funds or brought in engineers to build public services for citizens, but Gartner sees it becoming far more ubiquitous in the next three years.
“As citizens increasingly use personal technology and social networks to organize their lives, governments and businesses are growing their investments in technology infrastructure and governance,” said Anthony Mullen, research director at Gartner. “This creates open platforms that enable citizens, communities and businesses to innovate and collaborate, and ultimately provide useful solutions that address civic needs.”
Smart and useful government services will lead, according to Gartner, to more passive data sharing from citizens. As these services become more necessary and usable, citizens will supposedly be more willing to give away “life data” for “in the moment” value.
Governments everywhere trying to be more accessible
Governments may also work to embed their services into social networks and popular apps, to make it more accessible. One potential service could be a Facebook chat bot that tells citizens how to pay taxes, if they’re eligible to vote, and who is their state representative.
As more data is collected, governments must develop open data platforms, to provide local businesses and other public services with relevant data, according to Gartner.
“Open data portals in cities are not a new thing, but many portals today have limited machine readability and therefore limited business value,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner. “The city becomes ‘smart’ when the data is collected and governed in a way that can produce valuable real-time streams.”