This is the conclusion of MIT Technology Review’s latest report in collaboration with global media and digital marketing communications leader, Dentsu Aegis Network.
The report, “Connectivity and QoL” looks at how digital consumer habits and ubiquitous technology are driving smart city development in Asia Pacific.
Based on extensive in-market research efforts across eight key markets in the region – Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, the report includes some two dozen in-depth interviews with senior executives in the economic development, communications services, information technology, and advertising and media industries.
The Key findings of the report are:
Asian governments and businesses are in many ways more willing to invest in experimental models that exploit new technologies, business models, and urban planning design, with “anchor” service sectors such as health care that can serve wider communities.
Municipal governments in Asia are engaging the private sector in uniquely collaborative ways to build smart cities, based on a ‘value exchange’ where firms can meet their own branding and marketing objectives, while still contributing to the efficiency and quality of public service delivery.
Leading Asian technology firms such as China’s Alibaba or Japan’s Panasonic are also using smart cities as R&D platforms, to experiment with new technologies – such as big data analytics or IoT and business models.
Smart cities in Asia still face some development challenges: “greenfield” smart cities with no established commercial or social infrastructure often suffer from a lack of people willing to live in them, while making existing cities ‘smarter’ can prove extremely complex.
Yet, concurrently pursuing both “green-” and “brown”-field initiatives means that economies in Asia will be able to develop urban environments which are more compelling for their current and future knowledge workers.