Rob van Kranenburg, founder, the Internet of Things Council
"Cities are horizontal but IoT connects the unconnected," said Gordon Falconer, Director Smart Cities, Schneider Electric, at the IoT Asia event held recently in Singapore. He was talking about silos that divide the traditional cities' governments. In a Smart City, all arms of the government have the ability to talk to each other and share data for more efficiency and better decision-making.
Giving an overarching view of IoT and smart cities, the Internet of Things Council's founder, Rob van Kranenburg, said that data is the new gold and cities (governments) need to build a (data) roof over the cities and harness all the data to improve the quality of life of their citizens.
However, he cautioned against a top-down model of building smart cities. "Governments must involve the end user in decision-making," he said.
"Big data leads to better decision-making and Governments should encourage new design thinking," argued Tony Kim, co-founder and CEO, Cornerstones Technology, Korea. He also highlighted the need to weed out zombie companies, which have mushroomed in Busan, South Korea.
"Smart Nation is a journey," said Wilson Ang, director, Engineering & Technology, IDA Singapore, talking about the Smart Nation journey of Singapore. "We started our journey from the Jurong Lake District, and we take it forward step by step."
The panelists underlined the need for co-creation to the building of successful Smart Cities. Invite social scientists to technology conferences-they will bring new perspectives, was the consensus among the experts at the IoT Asia conference.
"Far too often, solution providers push their technologies and products on their customers, but what customers actually need are solutions," said IDC Asia Pacific's Associate Vice President and Head of Mobiity and IoT, Charles Reed Anderson. "For this to change and for IoT to reach its full potential, we need to see a fresh wave of collaboration between the solution providers and the various customer segments, including governments, enterprises and consumers, to enable these technologies and turn them into the IoT solutions that will change the way we live and work."
The second annual IoT Asia event (8-9 April) attracted 2,100 attendees, including 85 speakers from 16 countries as well as 44 sponsors and exhibitors representing 13 countries. Themed "Deriving Value from the Internet of Things", the conference was officiated by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment & Water Resources, and Minister-in-Charge of Smart Nation.
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