Imagine if your city could detect traffic congestion and give you alternate routes while you’re in your car? A city where parking meters communicate with your mobile app to tell you where available parking is located, where sanitation workers know which garbage receptacles are full and need emptying, where smart lighting makes your walk home well-lit, and where critical infrastructure like bridges are continuously monitored to make sure they are safe?
You won’t have to imagine much longer. This is the vision of the future smart city: and it’s around the corner. Governments, universities, and organizations are all working to make this tomorrow’s reality.
In the future, up to 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, creating new challenges and new opportunities for mobility and flow. A proliferation of miniaturized electronic sensors will be added to the cityscape; they’ll be embedded in roads, on the buildings around us, in traffic signals, on signage, in fact almost anywhere you can imagine. These connected sensors will be integrated into networks and coupled with big data analytic algorithms to analyze information quickly and cohesively, to deliver a richer, more rewarding city experience. In fact, Navigant predicts that the smart city products and services market will reach $97.9 billion by 2026.
And all this connectedness will generate masses of data. These sensors, along with the technology in autonomous cars, will transmit information about where we’ve been, what we’re doing, what we’re consuming and disposing of, and more. This data will be accessible for many types of organizations to use.
Here’s how to win in this new world:
- Reframe your customer journey. These shifts won’t just affect the way people interact with their city—they’ll affect the way people interact with your brand, too. Broaden your customer journey to include the new context in which consumers will live.
- Don’t be creepy. Consumers are waking up to the fact that all of these innovations generate masses of data. The opportunities to leverage it are endless, but you must find ways to foster trust among consumers that their data will be safely curated and used in ways that benefit them and only them.
- Start aligning your data now, not later. At Engine, we know that data alignment and integration are the key to relevant and personalized customer experiences. If you want to engage the future consumer, you need to start preparing internally now, by ensuring your organization is already effectively operationalizing different customer data sets, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.