Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) today published its latest Networked Society City Index. The index ranks 40 cities and measures their ICT maturity in terms of leverage from ICT investments in economic, social and environmental development: the “triple bottom line” effect.
One of the key findings from the report is the fact that cities with a low ICT maturity tend to be improving their ICT maturity faster than high performing cities, indicating a catch-up effect. Many cities also have the opportunity to leapfrog others by avoiding expensive and increasingly obsolete physical infrastructure and instead moving straight into innovative applications using advanced mobile technology.
Monika Byléhn, Networked Society Evangelist and driver of City Life at Ericsson, explains the importance of ICT in the development of cities: “Today, we are seeing so many new opportunities which are more or less provided by ICT. The way that cities are lead is increasingly built on ICT to provide efficiency and innovation, in basically all areas of a city, from health care to transport to utilities.”
Patrik Regårdh, Head of Ericsson’s Networked Society Lab, adds: “Cities will be the major arena in which ICT can bring solutions for economic, social, and sustainable growth. As a leader in ICT development, solutions and implementation, Ericsson is playing a major role in realizing the Networked Society and paving the way for more efficient, effective cities. Besides our reports like the City Index, we are engaging in public-private partnerships to drive progress such as the New Cities Foundation, and collaborate with agencies such as the UN-Habitat-the agency mandated by the United Nations to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities.”
The top five cities (Stockholm, London, Paris, Singapore and Copenhagen) remain the same, though Paris has now surpassed Singapore to take the number three slot. The nine new cities have been added in this year’s report are Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, Athens, Rome, Warsaw, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Among these, Munich enjoys the highest ranking, followed by Berlin and Barcelona.
Also new in this year’s report is the inclusion of three predictions about the urban future derived from new technology and ICT solutions and applications:
Smart citizens: People rather than institutions will drive urban progress to a larger extent, with more open public services and governance approaches characterizing this power shift.
GDP redefined: By moving toward a more collaborative and sharing economy, ICT solutions will provide opportunities to create more value from fewer resources, therefore necessitating an adjustment of GDP to mirror the values important for a sustainable society.
Power of collaboration: Tomorrow’s networking organizations will be more flexible and efficient thanks to collaboration. Therefore the prevailing conditions of city management will also evolve, requiring changes in legislation and governance.