How smart is the city?

Here’s an interesting one. How Smart is a city, in terms of the mobile comms and technologies available? And how would you measure it, exactly.

Amsterdam - Smart City

Amsterdam – Smart City

Well, university experts are helping to build a metric for ranking mobile-connected smart cities – Sheffield University has been working with GSMA, the association of mobile operators, to better document what kind of communication technologies are available to residents.

The concept is simple, but apparently there were no clear benchmarks or common agreement of what a smart city is and how it can be measured, says the university. It is providing the first global smart city ranking available.

Sheffield’s work involved an interdisciplinary research team of Dr G.C. Alex Peng from the University of Sheffield’s Information School, Professor Tim O’Farrell in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and Dr Mariam Kiran in the Department of Computer Science.

The current Smart Cities Index can be viewed at:

“The GSMA initially developed a common set of 31 indicators for measuring economics, infrastructure and social benefits of mobile connected smart cities,” Dr G.C. Alex Peng.

“In Sheffield, we’ve been helping the GSMA to enhance their Smart Cities Index by collecting opinions from global experts in these fields to determine the weights of the 31 indicators. In addition, we produced a calculation model to normalise and aggregate the datasets associated with the 31 indicators in order to produce an overall Smart Cities Index.”

Currently there are smart city profiles for only 11 cities: San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Seoul. No London, or Sheffield!

“Overall, it will be interesting to investigate the current smartness of cities by creating the index, while also exploring the potential business opportunity and market size of smart cities,” said Dr Peng.

“A city with high smartness may not necessarily have high market potential, and vice-versa. Our next piece of work here in Sheffield is to work with the GSMA to measure and estimate the market size of 11 smart cites across the world.”

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