Five steps to developing a Smart City platform

I want to change the world, one city at a time. How?

My vision goes like this: Combine existing data with newtechnologies to gain real-time visibility into buildings, infrastructure,businesses, and citizens. Leverage this new visibility to work more efficiently.This, in turn, frees up resources, grows economiesand most importantlymakesyour community a better place for people to live. 

The way to achieve real-time visibility—the holygrail for cities—is through dynamic city platforms. These flexible dataand application management solutions are the only way to ensure good data—data thatchanges as cities, businesses, and people change. And good data is the key tovisibility.

Ready to get started? Follow these steps to develop your dynamiccity platform:

1. Identifypriorities.

Choose your priorities from thesecategories:  governmentadministration, publicsafety, health,education,tourism,energyand water, transportation,or buildingsand infrastructure.

2. Curtailrisks.

Focus on rapid-ROI solutions to minimizethe financial risks of building Smart City platforms. Sponsorship from themayoral, city manager, or provincial levels reduce risk further by preventingindividual government silos from acting independently. It also ensures that foreach proposed government action the impact on the plan is assessed. 

3. Gofor the quick win.

City dashboards, which display keyperformance indicators (KPIs) so you can track your progress, are a relativelylow-cost place to start. They provide immediate transparency across the cityand may deliver alerts when pre-established thresholds are reached. Start with standardKPIs supported by one of these organizations, and then modify them to meet yourcity’s needs.  

4. Selecthigh-value solutions.

Choose data-driven solutions that provideimmediate value and address topics such as:

  • Tax compliance
  • Energy and water conservation
  • Demand-side energy
  • Social analysis
  • And more

Develop one solution at a time to createyour dynamic city platforms—as well as intelligent data managementplatforms that extend easily across multiple functional areas, rolling up into enterprisecity models. These models combine with Big Data to provide the cornerstone of aconnected, Smart City.

5. Don’tforget governance.

The city dashboard plays a large rolein helping govern performance, but it’s not enough. Cities must also ask: Who’sresponsible for the program’s success? How will we address change? How willfeedback be received? What organizational structure will work best? What’s thebudget? All of this should be built into a governance plan—an often overlookedbut essential step. 

Now that youknow about the holy grail, the next step is up to you. Meet with internal teamsand trusted partners. Be aggressive, innovate, and push to create Smart Cityplatforms—withunparalleled visibility—like the Cityof Barcelona did. Take advantage of programs like Microsoft’s CityNext.And get started. Creating a Smart City takes time. Commit right now to startingthe journey.

Havea comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question forthe author? Please e-mail us at

Gary Wachowicz
Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector