Consumer awareness of smart cities low in UK, study finds

consumer awareness of smart cities
© ATG Access

New research into consumer awareness of smart cities has shown 68 per cent of UK residents do not know what a smart city is.

The research, conducted by ATG Access, found that despite increasing worldwide investment in smart city infrastructure and the digitalisation of public services, consumer awareness of smart cities remained minimal; potentially impacting mass smart city adoption.

26 per cent of the survey’s 1000 respondents said they found the concept of smart cities “worrying” due to a lack of available information – the most worried consumers were the 45 to 54 age bracket, with 52 per cent expressing concern. 24 per cent of respondents said they were sceptical of the potential benefits offered by smart cities, leading to concerns about a lack of widespread consumer awareness of smart cities and the ways they can make lives easier for citizens.

Gavin Hepburn, managing director at ATG Access, said: “As technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things become more commonplace, governments and urban decision-makers are quickly realising the potential to incorporate this technology into creating safer, smarter cities. If implemented correctly, smart cities could improve living standards, reduce traffic, keep people safe and improve the environment. From our research, it is clear that educating the public on how smart cities can help solve many of the everyday issues inherent to urban life, such as safety risks, traffic congestion and a lack of security, will be key to solving these reservations.”

The research into consumer awareness of smart cities was conducted as part of ATG’s report “Smart cities: turning the dream into a reality”, which covers the problems posed by urbanisation, the attitudes and perceptions of consumers regarding smart cities; and ways in which current barriers to smart city adoption can be overcome.

Speaking about the need for increased consumer awareness of smart cities, Gavin Hepburn said: “Internationally, Singapore is perhaps the most famous example of a smart city success story. Visitors to the city-state have often reported that they feel like they’re “living in the future” due to the widely-modernised public services. The key to this early success has been the high amount of senior buy-in, in the form of Singapore’s government-backed “Smart Nation” project. This government backing has legitimised the smart city concept on a global scale and provides a shining example for the UK to follow.”

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