HomeArticleHarnessing The Power of AI To Improve City Management

10 February 2021

Harnessing The Power of AI To Improve City Management

Managing cities is a highly complex endeavor. Cities are where a melting pot of big populations live alongside each other. This is why a lot of administrations around the world are striving to make smart cities come true. Smart cities refer to the adoption of information technology to help cities improve on their management, starting from traffic, pollution and waste management to security enhancement.

One way that cities can accomplish this is by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to help disentangle the complexities which define city management. 

How AI can improve city management

A Harvard Business Review (HBR) article provided several examples from across the globe on how AI had helped boost city management quality. A major example can be seen in the realm of security, one of the most pressing urban management issues. In Spain, telco provider Telefónica has installed 12,000 sensors across its Santander city to boost security. Vodafone, meanwhile, is supplying law enforcement authorities body-worn cameras to help them navigate their daily shifts. An AI-based system then makes sense of the datasets to improve the security of these cities.

Smart building systems, furthermore, can use sensor data to analyze the efficiency of space utilization and occupancy management. In Indonesia, there is an application called Qlue, which helps citizens report various public facility defects starting from potholes to dangling electrical wires. Various applications have also helped waste management become better. The data sourced from these applications can be used to feed an AI system, which allows city administrations to quickly identify dysfunctioning public facilities or suboptimal waste banks on a real-time basis and solve the problem faster.

Furthermore, in the public transportation sector, the data provided by ride-hailing apps such as Gojek can be analyzed to feed an AI system which redirects traffic flow real-time based on where there happens to be gridlocks. No wonder various technology firms like Huawei have also entered the real estate development sector, according to the HBR article.

Public-private partnership schemes

Interstakeholder cooperation is of paramount importance in an endeavor as complex as city management. Telco providers cannot take this task of making smart cities come true lightly as the expectations of city administration constituents have gotten higher and higher. 

Thus the HBR article also argues that in partnering with city administrations, it is important for the telco providers to consider a business to government to consumer (B2G2C) model. This has mandated companies to engage with the city administrations and residents in a more intimate way: a new way of thinking for the companies’ sales and public relations people. 

In order to reformulate your engagement strategy, you need to engage in discussions with these various stakeholders to truly gauge the needs and sentiments of both the local administrations and their residents alike. To accomplish this, Siemens, for instance, is enlisting a wide range of urban management experts covering a wide range of disciplines from fi0ces to architecture in order to provide some big data and AI solutions to London. Regular meetings with administrators and urban residents are also highly important to achieve an inclusive, participative AI solution designing for smarter cities.

All in all, these new challenges can actually sound exciting for people across disciplines who like solving puzzles and work in teams to come up with new strategies to produce AI solutions which are truly relevant and location-specific to city management concerns.

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