mMarketing Opportunities for User Collaborative Environments in Smart Cities

mMarketing Opportunities for User Collaborative Environments in Smart Cities

Artemis D. Avgerou (Imperial College, UK), Despina A. Karayanni (University of Patras, Greece) and Yannis C. Stamatiou (University of Patras, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5187-4.ch062
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Abstract

Smart City infrastructures connect people with their devices through wireless communications networks while they offer sensor-based information about the city's status and needs. Connecting people carrying mobile devices equipped with sensors through such an infrastructure leads to the “collective intelligence” or “crowdsourcing” paradigm. This paradigm has been deployed in numerous contexts such as performing large-scale experiments (e.g., monitoring the pollution levels or analyzing mobility patterns of people to derive useful information about rush hours in cities) or gathering and sharing user collected experiences in efforts to increase privacy awareness and personal information protection levels. In this chapter, we will focus on employing this paradigm in the mMarketing/mCommerce domain and discuss how crowdsourcing can create new opportunities for commercial activities as well as expansion of existing ones.
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Introduction

Modern cities aim at improving the quality and daily satisfaction of its populations as well as its economy by deploying ICT infrastructures with their physical facilities (Mulligan and Olsson 2013, Rassia and Pardalos 2014). This integration results in a “smarter” city, in the sense that the city “senses” and “understands” its inhabitants’ needs and wants and adjusts or rectifies itself in order to satisfy them mainly through monitoring itself and its habitats’ opinions and suggestions and notifying the local governors (e.g. municipality or local government).

Within the current decade, many ICT companies created and invested on technologies that can transform cities into smart cities in the above sense. As evidenced from the ongoing work of the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, in http://www.smart-cities.eu/, the EU has developed a major strategic advantage in the Smart City domain by having numerous EU cities equipped with smart city infrastructures and applications. The standard smart city model describes six basic smart city qualities:

  • Smart Economy (Innovative spirit, Entrepreneurship, City image, Productivity, Labour Market, International integration).

  • Smart Governance (Political awareness, Public and social services, Efficient and transparent administration).

  • Smart Living (Cultural and leisure facilities, Health conditions, Individual security, Housing quality, Education facilities, Touristic attractiveness, Social cohesion).

  • Smart Mobility (Local Transport System, (Inter-)national accessibility, ICT-Infrastructure, Sustainability of the transport system).

  • Smart Environment (Air quality (no pollution), Ecological awareness, Sustainable resource management).

  • Smart People (Education, Lifelong learning, Ethnic plurality, Open-mindedness).

Our work, in this chapter, with respect to mMarketing, addresses the first item above.

Usually, the public and private sectors invest in the crowdsourcing and crowdsensing concepts, within the context of a smart city. These terms refer to the massive participation of people (crowd) who deliver, constantly, information (through sensors but also through, e.g., survey input) about their needs, wants, and their environment to applications which collect and analyze this massive information. The information comes from diverse sources which include smart meters, smart energy, smart phones and tablets, public information systems, social network applications and other corporate and public data sources (e.g. civic – municipality – data).

Therefore, a key element in the smart city context is that individuals become actively engaged in the creation of content and in sharing information on the internet, mainly through social networking media. This development taps into “the wisdom of crowds”, because it promotes the creation of all sorts of information content, it enhances the diversity of publicly available information and it increases the number of topics on which users can find information. Also, users’ opinions and ideas are shared and truly count – anyone can participate and share his views and thoughts about anything.

Along this on-line, user collaboration paradigm, we discuss in this chapter a new mMarketing model based on creating a collaborative environment of shoppers that enables the interaction among them (implementing the “wisdom of crowds” principle) as well as with the participating businesses and marketers, based on the ICT infrastructures provided by smart cities.

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