Smart Cities, ICT, and Small Businesses in the USA

Smart Cities, ICT, and Small Businesses in the USA

Lloyd Amaghionyeodiwe (York College, City University of New York, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5326-8.ch008
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Abstract

The phenomenon of smart cities is not new in the literature, and one of the definitions emphasizes the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve quality of life and efficiency of services. To this end, IT systems become crucial and essential to a city's quest to be “smart.” Thus, many organizations including SMEs have developed and utilized networks to facilitate their operations, transactions, and business functions. Given the role of small businesses in an economy and their quest operate in a smart environment and using surveys from organization, this study examines how smart these small businesses are by looking at their ICT usage. The study found that inasmuch as these small businesses improved in their usage of ICT, they are now faced with the risk of cyberattack, and while many of these businesses are virtually doing nothing to curb this, it becomes pertinent for an awareness to be put in place to help these small businesses realize the need for risk management especially as it relates to cyberattacks.
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Introduction

There is no proper or official definition of what a smart city is. According to Schaffers, (2012), the concept of smart cities has emerged during the last few years to describe how investments in human and social capital and modern ICT infrastructure and e-services fuel sustainable growth and quality of life, enabled by a wise management of natural resources and through participative government. In literature the term smart city is used to specify a city's ability to respond as promptly as possible to the needs of citizens, (Essays, UK. (2013). According to Muente-Kunigami and Mulas (2015), Smart cities can be viewed from two perspectives namely “a technology-intensive city, with sensors everywhere and highly efficient public services, thanks to information that is gathered in real time by thousands of interconnected devices”. And secondly, “a city that cultivates a better relationship between citizens and governments - leveraged by available technology. They rely on feedback from citizens to help improve service delivery and creating mechanisms to gather this information”.

A technical report by the International Telecommunication Union (2014), as cited by Al-Nasrawi, Adams, and El-Zaart (2015), considered and analyzed about 120 definitions of smart city from different studies and based on tier analyses, they came out with a comprehensive definition that encompasses the following: Improve the quality of life of its citizens; Ensure tangible economic growth such as higher standards of living and employment opportunities for its citizens; Improve the well-being of its citizens including medical care, welfare, physical safety and education; Establish an environmentally responsible and sustainable approach which “meets the needs of today without sacrificing the needs of future generations”; Streamline the physical infrastructure based services such as transportation (mobility), water, utilities (energy), telecommunications, and manufacturing sectors; Reinforce prevention and handling functionality for natural and man-made disasters including the ability to address the impacts of climate change; Provide an effective and well-balanced regulatory, compliance and governance mechanisms with appropriate and equitable policies and processes in a standardized manner. Thus, an all-inclusive definition of a smart city states as follows “A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects”.

The concept of a smart city evolved as a solution to the challenges imposed by growing urbanization, digital revolution, and the demands of society for more efficient and sustainable urban services and the improvement of quality of life. Thus, accessibility to an efficient communications platform and technology infrastructure are important factors of a smart city though the effect of the technology infrastructure might be less if the human infrastructure is not built. Building a human infrastructure is important as well as technology infrastructure. Consequently, there is the need to educate people in building a smart city in these technologies. In this regard, two closely related technology frameworks are the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data (BD). They help make smart cities efficient and responsive. Big data offer the potential for cities to obtain valuable insights from a large amount of data collected through various sources, and the IoT allows the integration of sensors, radio-frequency identification, and Bluetooth in the real-world environment using highly networked services. IoT is an essential technology without which smart city initiatives cannot exist. The “things” of the IoT devices, sensors, applications collect the data that enables the technology solutions to be effective.

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