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      Smart City Connectivity within the Arc

      What transforms a city into a smart one? At the heart of a smart city is the ability to improve citizens' lives and drive sustainability through the use of technology.

      19 Feb 2022 Mark Nicholson, CEO and Co-Founder, Vivacity Labs

      Cities must respond to their citizens’ needs, and a citizen-centric, privacy-first mindset and design is the fundamental component; this creates an ecosystem that gives the benefits of mass data without the costs to privacy. 

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      Bringing smart cities to life within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc 

      If the Oxford-Cambridge Arc is going to be a regional superpower of innovation and a standard-bearer of social advancement, adhering to these principles will be fundamental to its success. The Arc represents the opportunity for a variety of educational institutions, public authorities and tech companies to collaborate and implement smart city technologies through testbeds, trials and, subsequently, real-world applications.  

      There are current plans to build comprehensive developments, from houses to rail transport links, in order to establish this hub of innovation and drive economic development.

      However, to ensure both sustainability and a citizen-first approach, it’s important to re-evaluate how we harness and adopt the right smart city technologies in a way that minimises disruption. In many cases, existing infrastructure can be turned smart without the need to construct – sometimes quite controversial – new infrastructure.  

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      The opportunities and in making our cities smarter 

      Policy and funding are of course both opportunities and barriers to further smart infrastructure. The two need to be aligned and funnelled into the smart city fundamentals and initiatives to progress change and make our cities smarter.  

      Public consultation is a highly important process in making sure schemes are designed and implemented for the benefit of those it will be used by. Even if a project is designed well and benefits the community, skipping such processes can stoke fire against such schemes and lead to their removal. That’s why obtaining data is so important to settling any debates that may arise and providing an objective truth.   

      Another important issue is counteracting misunderstandings people may have around AI and misconceptions about data privacy. Decision makers can actively promote privacy-by-design principles and explore ways in showcasing its benefits.  

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