UK Councils Failing to Keep up with Smart City Potential

Man-on-phone-high-street.jpgMany local UK governments are lacking the budget, leadership and capability to take advantage of progress being made in the smart cities technology market, with few cities on track to make the most of savings and new revenues that connected technology can offer.

The research, carried out by smart lighting firm Lucy Zodion, reveals that smart cities are not deemed a strategic priority by the majority of councils in the UK, and there are a number of barriers to delivery that are stifling progress in many local authorities.

Without a clear roadmap to delivery from the government and a coherent, cost-effective approach, the UK risks lagging behind other countries with an inconsistent and delayed roll-out of smart cities that places already disadvantaged areas at the back of the queue for initiatives.

The survey contacted 187 councils across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and found that there was a significant gap between those councils leading the way on smart cities and those not yet engaged, with over 80 per cent of councils having little or no involvement with smart cities.

Five major barriers to delivery were identified during the research: lack of funding, lack of internal prioritisation, lack of evidence, insufficient collaboration and a general lack of confidence amongst council leaders. The research also created a model of momentum for councils looking to engage with smart cities, identifying six key stages on the road to building a substantial smart city platform from which to proceed.

“Local authorities hold the key to unlocking the benefits of smart connected cities, yet this research has identified fundamental barriers to a consistent and cost-effective roll-out and significant differences to the approach to smart cities across the country,” said John Fox, managing director of Lucy Zodion.

“It is evident that we need leadership to make smart cities work – leadership from government to provide a clearer path to delivery and leadership from local authorities to create an over-arching strategy to suit individual cities. It is only when councils are able to make smart cities a strategic priority and work together to implement them efficiently, putting the citizen at the centre of their plans, will we be able to realise the potential of our future cities.”

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