Smart City 3.0: Building Compelling Smart City Business Cases

By Smart Cities Team

Industry Trends

Smart City 3.0There’s a significant amount of ambiguity in specifying a Smart City project today. This lack of clarity costs time, dollars and often can lead you far astray from your smart city vision. Since the smart city effort is truly in its early adopter phase, it’s also not surprising that this ambiguity is also dramatically promoted by the marketing hyperbole of many vendors in the domain.  This scenario is increasingly being defined as Smart City 1.0 

Smart City 2.0 describes a reality where the governmental agency takes the lead in pioneering solutions. This too, as can easily be imagined, can quickly lead to large negative unintended consequences,

With these assumptions in mind, this white paper will attempt to define a sustainable, repeatable, scalable and economically sensible path forward for cities and projects of all sizes.

So what’s Smart City 3.0?

The Smart City 3.0 is a Smart City initiative is driven by public expectations – or more clinically “user needs”. While Smart City 1.0 and 2.0 are driven by technology and government decisions respectively, Smart City 3.0 is neither driven by the dazzling technologies nor the government alone.

In Smart City 3.0, the public should be able to express their views with the government acting as a facilitator and as a definer of agency-specific user needs.

This stakeholder-based model drives social change, helps to eliminate objections, minimizes design errors, and ensuring technology is properly applied in the development of city. A well applied Smart City 3.0 effort satisfies the three pillars of sustainability as well protecting the natural environment, enhancing human quality of life while maintaining fiscal prudence.

A Comprehensive Planning, Deployment, Operations and Maintenance Smart City 3.0 Framework

In order to structure, formalize and document a Smart City 3.0 project conception, delivery and commissioning, the Systems Engineering Process is used.

The Smart City 3.0 philosophy includes the following steps:

  1. Define Stakeholder Communities
  2. Query a multitude of stakeholders in each community for specific user needs
  3. Qualify these collected user needs into groups that are supported by a consensus of respondents
  4. Quantify these consensus-based user needs into measurable functional requirements.
  5. Assemble requirements, and underlying user needs into a project specification
  6. Create a test plan to ensure all consensus-based needs are met, and that no extraneous requirements have been introduced
  7. Consider user needs over the entire project lifecycle, from project conception to project retirement and disposal
  8. Maintain compliance with the three pillars of Sustainability,
    1. protecting the natural environment, and
    2. enhancing human quality of life while
    3. maintaining fiscal prudence

Following the guidance stated above results in faster project completion, lower overall costs and much greater user satisfaction. Those attributes are only some of the very strong reasons to adopt an SEP-based Smart City 3.0 approach.



  1. Gearing up for Smart City 3.0 by  Dr. Winnie Tang
  2. The 3 Generations of Smart Cities by Boyd Cohen
  3. Smart Cities 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. What’s next?   by Herman van den Bosch
  4. Towards a New Paradigm of the Smart City   by  Thomas Mueller
  5. How Smart is Your ‘Smart City’ and Why Should You Care? by Bill Hutchison
  6. The US DOT Systems Engineering Guide Book for Intelligent Transportation Systems  by  United States Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration

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