Technology Record - Issue 22: Autumn 2021

166 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E Securing of To truly deliver on the promise of smart cities, Microsoft’s Jeremy Goldberg believes governments need to prioritise accessibility and the effective and transparent use of people’s data BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S T he term ‘smart city’ is usually used to denote an urban area where technology and data are used to improve services for its citizens. These ambitious projects can some- times falter, particularly when city leaders get caught up in the technology and lose sight of delivering positive impact for people. “Smart cities begin with people, not technol- ogy,” says Jeremy Goldberg, worldwide pub- lic sector director of critical infrastructure at Microsoft. “For smart cities to succeed we need to be a little less concerned with adopting tech- nology for technology’s sake and instead focus more on the impact it can have on real people.” To deliver on the promise of smart cities, and build trust among the people using their ser- vices, Goldberg believes that urban leaders need to refocus their priorities on data. “For smart cities to succeed, they need to meet the needs of city residents and enable a more convenient urban life,” he says. “One way to do this is to understand the way people really live in and use urban spaces so that policies and tech- nologies can be used to have a positive impact.” However, priorities change from person to per- son. For example, ‘life-long urbanites’ or those who have lived in a city for a long time, already understand the landscape well, so they want their day-to-day activities to be made as easy and predictable as possible. “Business leaders, on the other hand, want to be able to reach customers easily and conduct operations without hassle,” says Goldberg. “This can mean everything from solutions to facilitate easier deliveries to better public transit systems that helps people to get around.” And then there are those who are looking to relocate to the city from elsewhere. “What kinds of things matter to someone who wants to move to a new city?” he asks. “The answers to this question might include access to amenities, easy-to-understand transit and road systems, minimal congestion, and the total cost of living.” Goldberg also suggests that cities can better meet the needs of their citizens by improving the delivery of their services. “That means both in the direct ways they interact with residents when providing services, and how they improve oper- ational efficiency on the back end,” he explains. “Most residents will only notice those improve- ments to their interactions with those services, but back-end efficiencies will mean smoother the future smart cities