Ericsson Advises City Leaders to Get Connected, Crowd-Ready

Ericsson, expecting 70 percent of the world's population to live in cities by 2050, released a new report ranking cities on their ICT maturity.

MIAMI—Ericsson, in concert with a Networked Society Forum (NEST) event here Nov. 19, released a Networked City Index report ranking 31 cities on their information and communications technology (ICT) maturity. There is a strong correlation, says Ericsson, between ICT maturity and societal, economic and environmental development—what it calls the "Triple Bottom Line."

Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson's home city, topped the ICT ranking, followed by London and Singapore, respectively.

Filling out the top 10 were Paris, ranking fourth, then Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Norway; Hong Kong; New York; Helsinki, Finland; and Tokyo, respectively. Dhaka, Bangladesh, took the last spot, with Karachi, Pakistan, just above it.

The report further came with the prediction that by 2050, 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities, up from the 50 percent that do today. In the "networked society" taking shape, "intelligent networks will be critical to the basic functioning of our cities and to their success in meeting current and emerging challenges," said the report.

"ICT significantly speeds up interactions between various actors, making them more intense and cost-effective," Patrik Regårdh, head of Ericsson's Networked Society Lab, said in a statement. "The reduced cost of information exchange and transactions lowers the threshold for new enterprises and collaborations. As a result, a city's economic development becomes vitalized."

To determine a city's ICT maturity, the Index considered three dimensions of ICT—infrastructure, considered an engine for connected cities; affordability, since it helps spread ICT; and service usage, measuring how well current ICT solutions are being embraced.

The 2013 Index included six more cities than earlier reports—among them more Scandinavian cities, providing more context around Stockholm. It also dropped some aged-out-of-relevance indicators, like fixed telephony, and added indicators for open data, smartphones and tablets.

The report offers city leaders several pieces of advice. Among them, to have a clear strategy for implementing ICT into their vision for their cities; to better leverage ICT when considering transportation, health and education investments; to stimulate the development of new goods and services that promote public-private partnerships; and to create policies that promote collaboration with other cities to build knowledge and create economies of scale through common frameworks.

The Triple Bottom Line

Detailing the social or societal element of ICT, Ericsson reports that ICT "plays, and will play, an important role in many areas connected to social development, such as health care or interaction between citizens and government, improved access to education and housing or increased safety and security in urban environments."