British can’t understand the meaning of smart city

Despite the infinite initiatives taken for smart cities in the UK and already in place, a new Postercope survey revealed that less than a quarter (23%) of British consumers know the term “smart city”. To carry out this research called “Smart in the City”, the research team has put a broad questionnaire on over 5,000 UK consumers, capturing their views on smart cities and their key features.

While the majority of British consumers ignore the notion of smart city, the report revealed that there was greater understanding and interest when respondents were asked to respond to specific initiatives. As for what smart city features are the most useful: The water supply of the city through smart systems received 89%, smart constructions 85%, intelligent energy 81% and smart health 79%, while intelligent electronics retail trade received the lowest rate.

Postercope’s report also revealed the need for consumers to understand the benefits of smart cities. While smart transport was rated 71% useful, consumers responded more positively when specific initiatives were described in more detail. Smart traffic control was rated 87% worthwhile, followed by 83% public smart parking, and 74% personalized real-time information on Real-time Mass Media.

Smart health, although considered to be one of the greatest achievements, only 20% of respondents said they are currently holding a handheld device. However, 55% said it would consider buying it in the future, which would help make smart health initiatives.

Postercope’s head of innovation, Nick Halas provided more insight into the company’s research, saying:

While the initial analysis of this research suggests that the public has little awareness or understanding of the Smart City idea or initiatives, when I refer to the specifics of the respondents, we have seen that there was a completely different picture. People are interested and willing to embrace systems that they believe to offer real benefit or make a real difference to their everyday lives, such as intelligent utilities, intelligent transport and, of course, the smart telecom infrastructure that provides services such as free wi- fi. But unfortunately there is a huge gap in the lack of knowledge from the general public about this issue that needs to be eliminated, and that can only be achieved by the proper education of citizens that can emerge from smart cities.

In order for smart-initiatives to be successful, raising consumer awareness must be a priority for both businesses and governments.