Creating Smart Cities in New Zealand and around the world

When it comes to how a modern urban centre performs, there are many different ways to measure progress and success. New amenities… more public and private investment… the enhancement of green spaces; all these priorities and many, many others are on the agenda as towns seek to deliver an increasingly positive experience for residents, businesses and visitors.

While many of these variables have been part of urban improvement for decades, it’s technology and the concept of the smart city that has increasingly captured the attention as a way of maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of town centres.  A smart city is built on the back of ongoing, real time, 24 hour data. Real convenience is where the customers, the administrators and anyone in between feel that life is made easier, not more complicated.

The goal – and the end result – of a smart city should be happiness, where a vibrant, modern urban centre makes any visit enjoyable.

Smart Parking is playing a key role in ensuring that the smart city evolves from theory to reality – and it’s a role and theme I explored at PNX14, a conference for municipal decisionmakers staged in Christchurch, New Zealand at the end of May.

While I reminded my audience that Smart Parking’s technology and business was established here in New Zealand, the real focus of my presentation was about the future – and about how local government, here and overseas is making that future happen right now.

With tens of thousands of Smart Parking sensors already in the ground in deployments around the world, there is a rapidly growing recognition that drivers – who are also the residents, businesses and visitors that are at the heart of any urban community – want to be able to park more quickly, more safely and more easily, and that our solution is at the centre of bringing the concept of a smart city, integrated with technology, to life.

The prizes for all cities everywhere are worth securing.  Smart Parking’s technology can be instrumental in cutting congestion and vehicle emissions caused by drivers looking for somewhere to park, and filling unoccupied parking spaces.

My presentation at PNX14 reviewed the technical and practical advantages of our solution that is attracting the attention of city development professionals from around the world, and how it laid the ground for further future innovation.

And while it is understandable that the world’s global cities will secure international media attention for their smart city projects it’s also worth remembering that many other urban communities are incorporating exactly the same technology into their streets to meet their local needs.

Smart Parking’s solution, for example, is helping breathe new life into New Zealand centres like New Plymouth, Rotorua and Cambridge by opening up CBD spaces on a strictly time enforced basis to more visitors and ensure that shoppers and tourists are given another great reason to visit downtown, while commuters who wish to stay all day are encouraged to park on the fringe of the CBD.

Ultimately, a smart city should make life easier and more convenient for the people, businesses and organisations that use them every day.  The technology that is deployed in the street, the applications that underpin it and the communications that tie it all together are now all in place to bring smart city benefits to an increasing number of communities in the years ahead.