digital technology for smart cities

When talking about smart cities, we understand the implied value and necessity of digitalization. But let’s not forget the more common definition of the word “smart.” After all, before we can offer digital tools and solutions to today’s urban dilemmas, we need to think intelligently.

case study: traffic jams

Let’s take the example of traffic jams, a daily nuisance all too familiar to a vast majority of city dwellers, travelers, tourists and businesses. The first goal here is to flesh out a few new and/or complex ideas:

  • reducing the number of vehicles in a given area by encouraging carpooling
  • reducing time wasted looking for parking by locating open parking spaces
  • improving parking turnover by controlling parking time
  • encouraging drivers to use public transit, bikes and carpooling

Implementing these ideas requires different resources:

  • information and assistance: traffic rates, real-time bus and train times, bike availability
  • financial incentives: facilitated payments for users (SMS, NFC), revenue from car sharing, stronger enforcement and additional income for communities
  • launching new services: connectivity on buses, combined ticket services for several cities, guided parking

digital and telecom tools for cities

To implement these projects, cities rely in part on digital and telecom tools:

  • connectivity everywhere for smartphones
  • decoupled processing of large volumes of data and interconnectivity of IT systems that are typically organized in silos
  • acceleration of current trends and arrival of new tech on the market: internet of things, NFC, sensor networks

Ideas and systems like these are also applied to energy, waste management, housing, the environment, economic development, tourism, cultural heritage sites and all of a city’s major missions and responsibilities. This doesn’t mean ditching technologies that don’t correspond to any current and actual need; rather, it's the know-how of these city experts that are busy developing and deploying the solutions for the smart city of tomorrow by relying on the digital ecosystem.


This article was originally posted in French here.

image © Beboy -

François Duquesnoy

The Orange Smart Cities program provides digital solutions for cities with large infrastructures and extensive citizen services.  These services including from water, environment, energy and transportation, in France as well as internationally.  At the heart of this team, I contribute to the strategy as well as development with French cities.