Nov 19, 2018
Being on the phone used to mean you were only going as far as the cord would let you. Today, the cord is gone, but connectivity and productivity in the world we live in is still important and depends on the infrastructure around us. Everything is smart: smart cars, smartphones, smart TV, smartwatches, and smart hotels. In order to pull much of this smartness together, a global movement of smart cities is helping to connect the dots of everything within a city or community to make it more livable, workable and sustainable. Smart cities can help create and sustain smart business travel, but so far this connection is just becoming visible.

Here are a few developments making business easier and smarter for travelers:
     – WeWork
     – Universal Charging Stations
     – Boom of Office Supply Stores/Business logistics
     – Communal, Public Spaces

A Little History

The smart city concept dates back as far as the invention of automated traffic lights in the 1920s. Yes, traffic lights have always been visible, but there is an intricate system of technology we will never see that was built to optimize traffic flow. We only interact with the light, but the technology behind the light is what keeps us moving during our commutes. 

Each sector, contributes its own unique innovations to the overall success of the smart city. For example, smartphones  provide instant information about transit, traffic, health services, safety alerts, and community news, but without contributions from every sector, the imagined world of full automation and connectivity remains only a idea. The challenge for the city itself is to harvest all the potential benefits from relevant sectors by providing physical infrastructure allowing the citizens users to interact with that infrastructure and drive economic growth, quality of life, and sustainability. 

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. Paris is a good example of a city that actively listens to its citizens in an attempt to create a more efficient city. A major example of this approach is the move to participatory budgeting in 2015, which enabled people to submit over 5,000 proposals to City Hall departments, which has in turn led to several hundred projects being put to Parisian voters. Paris is also home to 3,000 startups and highly structured incubators working with Paris & Co to finance innovative solutions and work in an agile manner in order to deliver better public services. The success of smart cities don’t just rely on infrastructure, it also relies heavily on technologies developed for individual use. 

There is an ever growing need for access to tools that allow us to interact with the digital economy, both as producers and consumers. These tools come in the form of hardware, but the development  of revolutionary software platforms pushes people to use the tools they own, with the infrastructure that is in place, to create a customized personal experience.