Majority of Brits unaware of smart city benefits

Written by Peter Walker

Almost 70 per cent of the UK public do not know what a smart city is or the benefits it can bring, according to a study of 1,000 people conducted by ATG Access.

The research revealed that just over a quarter found the prospect of smart cities “worrying” due to a lack of available information on the topic.

Despite widespread global investment in the digital transformation of public spaces and the smart city concept, ATG found that consumer awareness in the UK is low because of a lack of available information.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the digitally-native 18-24 age bracket which harbour the least amount of worry, with just over a third expressing trepidation, compared to just over half in the 45-54 age bracket.

Almost a quarter of Brits expressed scepticism around the benefits smarter cities would provide, which ATG said demonstrated a need for greater access to reliable educational resources around the topic.

The vehicle barrier company’s report suggested that urbanisation problems could be solved through the adoption of specific smart city concepts, such as traffic, crime and emergency incident response.

Gavin Hepburn, managing director at ATG Access, said: “As technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things become more commonplace, governments and urban decision-makers are quickly realising the potential to incorporate this technology into creating safer, smarter cities.

“From our research, it is clear that educating the public on how smart cities can help solve many of the everyday issues inherent to urban life, such as safety risks, traffic congestion and a lack of security, will be key to solving these reservations,” he added.

The report noted that Singapore is arguably the most famous example of a smart city success story, partly due to the high amount of senior buy-in, in the form of Singapore’s government-backed Smart Nation project.