Ericsson reveals consumers are main drivers of smart city developments

Ericsson revealed consumers are driving smart city deployments by demanding more information on key areas including congestion, air and water quality.

The Swedish vendor's Consumer Labs research division said a global study of 9,030 iPhone and Android smartphone users aged between 15 years and 69 years old revealed that most consumers (76 per cent) want city authorities to install congestion sensors on roads and pavements, and 66 per cent would like real-time information on the quality of drinking water.

Ericsson conducted the study in September, using consumers in London, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Beijing, Delhi, New York, São Paulo, and Tokyo.

The company said the survey shows that consumers want to use their smartphones more when navigating their way around cities. Some 74 per cent said they would like to see interactive street signs and bike or car sharing in their city, while 29 per cent said they would be comfortable using a unified biometric identification service to access public services on a daily basis.

Michael Björn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab, hinted that European cities lag behind those in Asia Pacific and south America in terms of consumer demand for potential new services.

"Delhi, Beijing and São Paulo score very high on usefulness ratings for all concepts we tested--whereas Paris, London, and Stockholm score significantly lower," Björn said, noting that 41 per cent of Stockholm residents are concerned with assessing drinking water quality compared to 92 per cent in Delhi.

Traffic volume map services were ranked highly by survey respondents in all cities, and Ericsson notes such facilities would be the most-used services if launched.

However, Björn also noted that demand for services varies depending on where in a city consumers live. "[C]itizens who live in the central parts of the cities are more interested in the concepts than those who live in suburbs," he noted, adding: "Also, the young and full time workers are those with the overall highest predicted daily use of the concepts, and the ones who will most actively push cities to grow smarter."

For more:
- see Ericsson's research announcement
- read the full smart cities report [PDF]

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