Smart cities of the future will change the way we live our lives

Martin Powell, Siemens

Cities are at the heart of digitalisation. They are powerhouses attracting the brightest minds, and with that are the most capable of adapting to change.

As society begins to grasp the finality of our planet’s resources, there is a pressing need for cities to become more efficient at managing energy use, resources, mobility and innovation. Already, the world’s leading cities are employing high-tech solutions to become more efficient; however, advancements in greener devices alone will not enable a city to be a better place to live.

A new book “Better Cities, Better Life” addresses how cities across the world are tackling 21st century megatrends and the challenges of sustainable urban growth.


A smart city has the ability to access big data that is supplied by high-tech devices; to extract intelligent knowledge from this data; and most important – to interconnect every “component” of the city, human and machine, and to drive innovation.

In 2008 the number of devices connected to the internet had exceeded the population of our planet, and has exponentially increased ever since. Huge volumes of data has filled our world, bringing with it countless opportunities for value creation. The potential for a better city now comes from the way we manage this data.

Intelligent analysis of data can enable society to make informed decisions, whether it is about the way we live our lives now or planning future projects.

Now urban decision makers can use smart concepts and tools to select technologies that offer their own cities maximum environmental and economic benefits.

The challenge often facing cities is understanding the impacts of different technologies on priorities such as air quality, climate change and job creation. How does one technology compare with another? Which brings the greatest dividend and which is the most cost effective? Combining good quality city data with technology data enables us to find answers to these questions.

The City Performance Tool allows cities to explore 70 technology levers across transport, buildings and energy technology. Using the Siemens’ knowledge of how these technologies perform in cities the Tool enables cities to gain detailed insight into the CO2, air quality and job creation.

Such tools empower city managers to focus on appropriate technologies that will provide win-win solutions in the key city areas: buildings, transport and energy.

The battle for tackling climate change will be won or lost in our cities. Through human history cities have overcome many challenges and evolved through innovation. The path to a sustainable future requires strong leadership, innovative technology and a step change in the pace of deployment that only cities can make happen.

Many of these concepts and thoughts are showcased in the upcoming book called Better Cities, Better Life. The book addresses how cities across the world are tackling 21st century megatrends and the challenges of sustainable urban growth.

Martin Powell, Head of Urban Development, Siemens