Enabling Smart Cities: Emerging Technologies & the importance of Data

The way that we work and live continues to gather pace, we know as customers and citizens that we expect more than we have ever done before. Whether it is: access to healthcare, education, banking services, TV and news on the go, through to selecting holidays, hotels and restaurants… the list is almost endless.

Today, technology enables much of what we do, what is not always so obvious is the value of the data that underpins our choices.


Much has been written about the exponential growth in data volumes that are driven, in part by the digitisation of products and services. Organisations across public and private sectors continue to examine new ways of driving commercial and societal advantage from its use.

We know that data is a real asset to organisations, we know that enterprises have often found it hard to identify, manage and exploit and we know we are going to see more and more of it.

With the advent of emerging technologies our contention is twofold:


  • Emerging technologies will generate and enable more data than ever seen before, creating challenges for organisations to distinguish the true insights from noise
  • Emerging technologies will also create opportunities for the initiated to deliver data driven services and insights that will create new markets and reshape traditional value chains.


When we look ahead across the market place, what do we see? And how can organisations best prepare themselves for the challenges and opportunities provided by the introduction of emerging technologies?


We hear much about the likes of blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and now increasingly about 5G, especially as the UK rollout has now officially started. Let’s take a closer look at 5G, this next generation communications technology promises much. It has the capability to remove the connectivity barriers that our current infrastructure provides. The 5G performance increases are significant and across both b2b as well as b2c markets. Notably the advent of 5G is seen as a key enabler for ‘Smart Cities’ and what has more widely termed ‘Connected Communities’.


It is notable that the UK Government’s department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) are also focusing on rural areas across the UK to ensure true geographic rather than simply population coverage. Enabling rural economies and societal benefits well beyond our cities.

When one takes a country level view ‘the race is on’ to be in the first wave of countries to adopt at scale these technologies and so power the next generation of economic growth. There is a fear that those countries that do not effectively exploit such emerging technologies will simply be left behind.


To truly enable connected communities we see a range of other emerging technologies playing an important role. Roll out of 5G, deployment of IoT sensors within our urban and rural landscape, the use of immersive technologies, such as Augmented, Virtual and Mixed reality that truly bring to life high value experiences. These all combine to deliver a range of new products and services such as remote social care, enhanced medical treatment, immersive training or simply out of this world gaming experiences.

The management and processing of huge data volumes (often required in real time) create the need for more advanced analytics, powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning and computing on edge applications.


With such data ubiquity this does also raise important questions around privacy and ethical use of information. Not to mention the need for appropriate governance and security across technologies to safeguard those seeking to use the data as well as those seeking to cause disruption.


To book your place for Supercharging the Digital Economy 2019, please visit the event website


About the author

Steve Evans is Head of Emerging Technology at CGI UK and his key note speech at the Supercharging the Digital Economy Conference on 6th November will cover the themes above and share insights on how organisations across the public and private sector are tackling the use of emerging technologies in their local markets and seeking to maximise the benefits as they navigate key challenges and opportunities. Specific consideration will be given to North West and reflect on how the region might best take advantage from the opportunities and minimise the challenges posed by Emerging Technologies. To find our more about Supercharging the Digital Economy, visit the event website here

  • Noreen Aldworth

    Noreen Aldworth

    Head of Events
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