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US President Barack Obama invests $160M to develop ‘Smart Cities’ apps

The Obama administration announced this September that it would be pledging $160 million to create a new “Smart Cities” initiative. This pledge was announced in tandem with Smart Cities week hosted by the Smart Cities Council.

This initiative would help startups, entrepreneurs, political leaders, and non-governmental organisations collaborate to develop apps.

These smart city apps will be aimed at providing solutions to modern concerns over security, changing climate, traffic congestion, and connectivity. The funds will leverage over 25 technology collaborations to address these issues.

Smart Cities are trending all over the world. As more and more people are embracing technology and science, smart solutions are becoming more readily available. The Obama administration recognises the advances made in technology as key to their funding.

The White House said that the initiative will specifically focus on the following key strategies:

  • Creating test beds for IoT applications and working on new multi-sector cooperative models;

  • Collaborating with the IT community and establish coopetition between cities;

  • Work off of an existing portfolio of Federal activity;

  • Seek International collaboration .

With respect to how collaboration is necessary to achieve this goal, President Obama was quoted saying, “Every community is different, with different needs and different approaches.  But communities that are making the most progress on these issues have some things in common.  They don't look for a single silver bullet; instead they bring together local government and non-profits and businesses and teachers and parents around a shared goal.”

Along with this launch, the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Programme released a new framework that will facilitate Federal agency investments to help create Smart Cities.

This focus on technology development is reflected in the Science and Technology Priorities Memo that forecasts the key foci for the President’s 2017 budget proposal.

What does this mean for global Smart City development?

While European and Asian cities have been embracing the ‘Smart Cities’ movement for quite some time, things could get interesting now that the United States has joined the mix.

This program is setting the United States of America in the right direction of Smart City development. In the near future, this country may be well ahead in producing more smart cities than near counterparts.

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