Here’s how your business can keep up with the rise of smart cities
Since Kansas City launched its smart city initiative, it’s become known as one of the world’s most connected cities. With millions of dollars in public and private investment, Kansas City has emerged as a leader in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship, attracting startup gurus to be a part of the booming culture of business creativity in the Heartland.
Much of the growth in recent years can be attributed to the city’s 2 mile-long streetcar route which runs along the smart city corridor that stretches from River Market to Union Station.
What is a Smart City?
Smart cities use technology to collect and share information about and with the city government and the people in the city to improve people’s quality of life. Examples are: smart parking spaces that let you use an app to find an open parking space; smart trash cans that detect when the can is full and can even send the trash to a disposal site through underground pipelines; streetlights that conserve energy by dimming when the street has no traffic and brightening as a pedestrian or vehicle travels down the street.
Kansas City boasts free outdoor public Wi-Fi, smart streetlights, and digital kiosks that give travelers information about area businesses and offer new ways to access city services.
What does this mean for my business?
Understand the Ecosystem
First, realize that smart cities impact businesses.
Connectivity isn’t the only thing that makes a smart city “smart.” It requires government, infrastructure, public safety and other civic factors working together to enhance everyday life for local citizens. That’s done through information and communications technology systems. Many businesses are benefiting from the effects of living in a connected city like Kansas City. For example, the streetcar and public transit systems are provide free and easy transportation that bridges the gap between major city districts, making it easier to get around and for residents and visitors to take in more of the great things the city has to offer. It’s a cycle of prosperity which spreads and brings more consumers into your neighborhoods and businesses.
As consumers become more accustomed to living in smart cities, having even more information at their fingertips and being able to complete tasks via mobile devices, they will expect to be able to do the same with your business.
If it’s hard for people to find you, they can’t buy from you. We talked in a previous post about SEO and how it’s an important component of your website. When people are looking for products or services related to what you offer, your business can be among the first they see if you’ve effectively incorporated SEO into your strategy.
It’s also important to streamline your office or building space to ensure all your technology systems are connected and working together. This not only improves the efficiency of your business, it makes for an easier user experience and more comfortable work environment. Things like faster internet speeds, sustainable lighting, proactive cybersecurity efforts, client and project management systems are examples of efficienct systems. If technology isn’t your thing, don’t hesitate to consult a professional.
Smart cities are all about data collection and use. Often that information is public knowledge and you can leverage it to better target your demographic. Incorporate both government accessible data and your own proprietary customer data it to inform your business decisions.
Data helps you learn more about your target audience and how you can better meet their needs. That being said, it’s never a good idea to overload your customers with surveys and forms. A reasonable rule of thumb is once a month. Make the simple call to action to “let us know how we’re doing,” or “complete a quick survey about our quality of service” and take the opportunity to ask what your clients would like to see in the future. This information can help you plan refine your business strategy and growth plan.
Plan for the future
Technology is the way of the future. It will only get more advanced, so as you’re starting to think about where you are versus where you’re headed, pay attention to technology trends on the rise and factor that into your innovation strategy. For example, IoT, AR, VR are progressive movements and as computer scientists are figuring out what 5G network technology will look like, you can start thinking about how you’re going to leverage that tech in your business.
Plan for how your clientele’s needs and tastes will evolve and keep your brand strategy fresh and up-to-date. If it’s time to switch up specific tactics or offerings based upon the direction of your primary audience and client base, don’t shy away from change, just ensure you have a solid plan in place.
These insights will help navigate digital age and the rise of smart cities. Learn more about Blue Symphony and how we help our clients operate in the advancing technology landscape. Connect with us on Bluesymphony.com or on LinkedIn and Facebook to join the conversation about how to supercharge brands to stay in stride with the future of digital technology.