New York named Best Smart City of 2016

At the Smart City Expo World Congress in 2016 held in Barcelona Spain, New York was announced as the Best Smart City of 2016.

The city was recognized for its initiative, Building a Smart + Equitable City. The project was led by the Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation. There were four pillars to the city plan to make New York a global leader in smart technologies: 1) LinkNYC that expanded connectivity among citizens; 2) and Urban Tech NYC, that were for growing the innovation economy ecosystem;3) a program for piloting and scaling smart technologies; 4) A set of comprehensive guidelines that would ensure equitable deployment of the smart city technologies.
Jeff Merritt, Director of Innovation at the Mayor's Office of Tech + Innovation said:“When used effectively, IoT devices—like sensors that capture pollution in the air or lights that only turn on when someone is in the room—can produce cost savings, bolster civic engagement, and strengthen public health and safety. As cities move forward into the future, municipal leaders must also be cognisant of, and actively mitigate, the challenges and risks raised by these technologies, most notably in areas of public privacy and security.”"IoT" stands for the Internet of Things.The IoT are inter-networked physical devices such as vehicles, buildings, and numerous items embedded with electronic technology such as software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable all these objects to communicate with each other and collect and exchange data. The devices are often designated smart, as in smart locks, smart refrigerators, smart vehicles, thermostats and so on.
READ MORE: The City of London launches its 'smart street' initiative.
A good example of innovation using smart technology is the program of LinkNYC which has transformed the old city pay phone system into a huge network of over 10,000 communication structures. They provide Wi-FI hotspots, phone calls, ability to charge your cell phones and other devices and access to city services, as shown on the appended video. New York is also spending $3 million to invest in sensors that will improve public safety. They are also investing $20 million in a program to connect vehicles. New York even has a special program providing 9,300 square meters of affordable space and equipment to help entrepreneurs build smart and sustainable solutions to problems.
Merritt had an upbeat appraisal of New York's policies:“New York City’s strategy for a smart and equitable city is rooted in a series of practical steps and tools that city agencies can use to leverage new technologies.This includes a focus on expanding Internet connectivity across the five boroughs to unleash new opportunities, growing the local innovation economy and accelerating public-private partnerships, working with communities to develop solutions that meet neighbourhood needs, and always putting New Yorkers first as we test and deploy new technologies.”
A smart city is a vision of urban development that integrates information and communications technology (ICT) with IoT technology in order to manage the city's assets which would include local departments information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply systems, waste management, law enforcement and other community services. ICT is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications. Information technology(IT) is the application of computers, to store, study, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data or information. However, the term could also refer to other technologies such as television, and telephones, and radio. The appended video shows how different cities have employed new technology to make their cities smart.
As can be seen in the video description of the use of smart technology in Singapore, the smart city can raise questions about the privacy of citizens, as the smart city may constantly be monitoring the behavior of its citizens supposedly in order to enhance their lives. There are also concerns about the use of innovative technology in smart policing. Many citizens may be unhappy about the degree of order and efficiency involved in the city and prefer a more haphazard and perhaps less efficient city but in which they had more control. There is also the problem of large corporations gaining control over the new technology and finding the smart city a way of introducing proprietary technology that gives them the opportunity for monopoly profits. A great deal of the material on the smart city reads like promotional material for a business.


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