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Smart citizens: How the internet facilitates smart choices in city life

This paper is a study that was conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab online in September 2014 with 9,030 iPhone and Android smartphone users aged between 15 and 69. Respondents, representing 61 million citizens, were from Beijing, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, Rome, São Paulo, Stockholm and Tokyo.

In order for people to take a more proactive and participatory role in city life there is a need for a bottom-up change approach while traditional players still deliver ICT services. The main finding of this report was the wish for nomadic and healthy citizens to be able to monitor crowded spaces, optimize energy usage and evaluate the quality of drinking water. 

Most of the concepts tested in this study can clearly have a high impact on everyday city life. For this very reason, city dwellers may feel these services are far too important to be placed in the hands of the next tech start-up with a bright idea. Although there is plenty of room for tech companies, people want to see traditional service providers in these everyday life areas provide the added benefits that internet can deliver. As smart citizens are increasingly aware that the information that they generate will be shared, most of them want the information generated by public authorities to remain with the authorities.

The future of smart cities will partly be a story of how the citizens themselves are going to shape it. As the internet makes people more informed, they can in turn make better informed decisions. They are becoming smart citizens and through their changing behaviors, efficient practices, and smarter social norms developing our city.

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