Smart City is a future vision state of a city that is fully optimised and highly efficient in managing its resources (i.e. energy, mobility, building), quality of life (i.e. social, health, environment) and is innovative in how it operates (i.e. education, economy, research). Smart City projects aim to alleviate traffic congestion, prevent water pollution, minimise the impacts of weather in its environment, reduce CO² emissions, improve energy efficiency in buildings and make advances in social well-being.
Here is an example of how a Smart City project manages energy efficiencies. Accurate weather predictions can help to optimise heating and cooling via smart thermostats and pricing plans. It also influences maintenance and operation schedules and helps plan for disruptions, rather than just reacting to severe events. Imagine managing solar power, heat pumps, huge transformers, photo-voltaic, and all those wonderful underground wires in a new city.
What makes Smart City smart?
What was previously a ‘dumb’ thermostat or other industrial control system is now being embedded with sensors that continuously transmit the status of performance of equipment or instrument or machine (also known as ‘thing’ in the terminology of Internet of Things – IoT). By continuously monitoring streams of sensor data and applying analytics on the multitude of sources of sensor data in meaningful ways it will be possible to employ the telecommunication network technologies to remotely communicate with ‘things’ to alter their state to repair and prevent malfunctions. This, in essence, is the underlying smartness.
It is evident from the Smart City projects that exploiting the smartness of ‘things’ cannot be achieved alone by the city government and needs the involvement of citizens, partners and collaboration among participating departments and organisations. Increasingly, industry boundaries are expanding beyond individual organisation / systems so as to exploit related external information that can be coordinated and optimised for making homes, building and cities smart.
Fortunately, Digital, instrumented by information and communication technologies has been the enabling factor in organisational change and innovation, and there is now evidence on their impact on industrial value chains.
The term “smart organisation” was coined by the European Commission’s research program for organisations that are knowledge-driven, internet-worked, and dynamically adaptive to new organisational forms and practices, learning as well as agile in their ability to create and exploit the opportunities offered in the digital age.
Are you interested to joining the ranks of smart organisations?
Redefining Michael Porter’s Value Chain for digital age
Smart organisations involve more than the capability of setting up and exploiting a digital infrastructure. Digital is not just about omni-channel campaigns for marketing purposes. It is an enabler and part of end-to-end integration of the organisation’s business processes to achieve strategic capabilities, remembering that an organisation’s capabilities are not confined to those it owns and is strongly influenced by resources outside the organisation which are an integral part of the chain between product or service design, through production and marketing to the use of the product or service by consumers.
One executive of a multi-national organisation operating in Australasia admitted that they have had Digital Portal (i.e. Online presence) for a long time but they have not been successful in translating this capability to online-commerce due to lack of seamless integration between their value chain partners.
“This new product data is valuable by itself, yet its value increases exponentially when it is integrated with other data, such as service histories, inventory locations, commodity prices, and traffic patterns…” (Dr. Michael Porter).
Organisation Value Redefined
Today, individuals and organisations understand value as something different from value in its traditional sense (e.g. from investments in tangible assets labour, plants and machinery). For instance, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) studied organisational performance showing direct relationship between volumes of production and declining cost which they called the experience curve. The premise of BCG is that in any market segment of an industry, price levels tend to be similar for similar products. Therefore, what makes an organisation more profitable than the other must be the level of its costs. The component parts that contribute to declining costs are self-learning (i.e. efficiencies from learning to do job better), specialisation (i.e. division of labour) and scale (i.e. reduced capex with volume growth).
Value in a networked economy grows with the number of intermediation opportunities (e.g. relationships). “Smart” resources – e.g. information, analytics, software, knowledge, brands and innovation capability– contribute increasingly to value creation in today’s economy.
The experience curve in networked economy arises from employing machine learning to drive efficiencies in decision making. Learning and knowledge creation comes from gaining new insights by continually doing discovery analytics.
How can organisations become smarter?
Most organisations are not designed to be stable but they evolve much as its biological analogy. In a digital economy the law of survival of the fittest will evidence its relevance to organisations as it does in the biological domain.
Smart organisations are committed to building collaborative partnerships with a clear focus on customer advocacy surpassing customer expectations and is recognized as a key success factor. A smart organisation identifies and exploits new opportunities to optimise and adapts to process changes by leveraging the power of digital, innovation, collaborative intelligence and knowledge through discovery analytics. Smart organisation survives and prospers in the digital economy because it can respond positively and adequately to change and uncertainty. Read more here.
Would you like to join other successful organisations that have become smarter by using discovery analytics? Click here to find out more.
Or perhaps learn how to make smart grid smarter towards your quest for getting started with the next Smart City project! Click here for more information.
Or may be simply get motivated by admiring the arts that make analytics come to life with the Art of Analytics. Find more on that here.