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Building Smart Cities for the Future

All city planners, engineers and builders are under a tremendous amount of pressure, and those building smart cities are no different. Planning and preparation is vital – but once the work actually begins and you’re on-site, of course, things can change and plans must evolve. This creates a pressing need to record details and keep accounts of what has changed, or later audits could experience severe difficulties. This is more necessary than ever before when building a smart city because of the sheer degree of complexity involved; resource consumption management tools, such as smart meters, must be placed in the right way and calibrated correctly if they are to function effectively.

This site management information – complete with changes and new initiatives – should be visible throughout the build process, allowing managers to understand where projects are and what is being done. This transparency allows for plans to be reformulated swiftly, quickly giving an understanding of dependencies, avoiding bottlenecks and improving operations across departments.

However, this transparency for all parties throughout a build needs to be accompanied with an understanding of security. Much of the data about smart city build projects may be sensitive – or the projects themselves may contain sensitive data. For example, contractors should be able to view schedule data but not cost estimates. This sensitivity is particularly important when dealing with smart city projects concerning citizen participation and data, where many personal details may be held on smart city systems.

It’s also vital to manage compliance with industry regulation and keep records of safety standards and other procedures – again, with the increased complexity of systems within a smart city, there is simply more to consider. Having systems which provide transparent records and monitoring can assist with this – for example, with risk analysis and health assessments for building and maintenance staff. Furthermore, although most of the monitoring and management software within a smart city is expressly in the public interest, construction firms and planners must also consider any privacy legislation within their region.

There is little doubt that smart cities will bring a large number of benefits to our urban spaces, but also many things to think about. However, if all the planners, architects, engineers and builders working on smart city initiatives shared their experience of building smart cities, exchanging best practice and hints and tips – now that would be a really smart city.

Oracle Primavera’s SMART City Projects solution helps cities manage these challenges using modern collaborative, social and mobile tools, backed with disciplined project management and analytical applications at the core. To find out more, read our solution brief here.

This post was authored by Werner Maritz, director, public sector and infrastructure strategy, Oracle Construction and Engineering

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