Asia Pacific boasts most of the world's largest and fastest-growing urban areas, and smart city technology is becoming a crucial element of their future development, according to Navigant Research, as nations throughout the region are sponsoring enormous new urban areas to house growing populations and creating policies that encourage smart city technology to guide their development.
Asia-Pacific governments are piloting a variety of technologies to solve urban problems, reduce urban energy and resource use, and prepare for future growth, Navigant notes, with leading cities and providers taking the initial steps to integrate networks of intelligent technologies and create true smart cities.
But the lofty goal is not without challenges. As the technology continues to advance and mature, Asia-Pacific cities in both developed and developing markets are looking at a variety of non-traditional methods to solve financing IT and infrastructure improvement issues. Along with the challenges, however, comes the opportunity to rethink approaches to managing these cities, and offer their inhabitants economic opportunities and meaningful quality of life enhancements, using smart city technologies, Navigant says.
"For many cities in the developed western world, the adoption of smart cities approaches is a choice; for officials in the mega-cities of Asia-Pacific, it is a necessity," said Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research. "The list of problems facing contemporary city dwellers in the region includes stressed city finances, inadequate infrastructure, rising energy costs, congested transportation, and competition for global investment and skilled labor. Emerging intelligent systems, however, promise solutions, and cities across the region are starting to implement them."
In many ways, smart city programs offer opportunities to tackle problems of a national scope, according to Navigant. Intelligent systems can reduce the use of energy and water without limiting economic growth. In addition, smart infrastructure can help developed world cities meet energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets and allow governments to deliver better services at lower cost.
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