The UK is recognised as a world leader in the field of innovation and technology related to smart cities. Last November, the judging panel of the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona nominated the city of Peterborough “Smart City of the Year 2015” and another British city, Milton Keynes was a finalist. This was a strong showcase for Great Britain’s ability to mobilise the research, leadership, innovation, technological expertise and workforce to make Smart Cities happen.
London: a giant with feet in clay?
As a leading global city, London might have been anticipated as the UK’s first major smart city. However, the numerous challenges the city is facing due to increased urbanisation jeopardises this: a housing shortage will be a serious issue for the expected 77 million future Londoners of 2050 (62.2 million today), as well as employment. A soaring population will also create added strain when managing London’s ageing infrastructures as will increased waste and transport congestion, which is already impacting on air quality and life expectancy. To continue as a leading global city London becoming a Smart City is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Fully aware of the stakes, the UK Government along with London political authorities are widely encouraging and supporting a great variety of innovation projects involving corporates and SME’s in order for London to demonstrate a Smart City approach by 2018. The task is gargantuan and the deadlines tight, but not much flexibility can be granted when cities like Dubai and Shanghai are threatening to supplant London’s key role in the global system economy.
How does your business fit within this bigger picture?
Are you the perfect provider to supply challenging cities like London or would your proposition fit medium-sized, more agile cities in the UK? How well do you know your audience? What messaging does your audience respond to? How do you ensure you engage with them through the effective channels?
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