Kingston needs more than technology to become a smart city — C&W, ICT executive

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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“Stakeholder engagement, public-private partnerships and the successful navigation of social issues are critical milestones to Kingston becoming a smart city — technology cannot be the primary focus,” were the thoughts of senior director of C&W Business Jamaica, Delroy McLean at the recently concluded Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Private Equity, Infrastructure, SMEs, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

McLean views came during one of the conference workshops on the topic, 'Kingston as a Smart, Creative City'.

He further offered that people are the enablers of technology, with the ability to impact the prospects for developing Kingston as a smart city.

“A 'smart transformation cannot be technology-led with a focus on fixing people-problems, instead people must be at the centre of the process in order for the transformation to occur.

“We must re-evaluate the existing idea of a smart city: our people and cultural issues require us to begin by consulting with the residents and businesses in Kingston. Residents and businesses must buy into what it means to be part of a smart city and its prospects for a cohesive and augmented experience. Members of the informal economy, such as people washing cars and vendors, will also need to be included in this engagement process,” stated McLean.

He then encouraged a collaborative approach where Government leverages technology and the expertise of the private sector to create a connected environment.

“There needs to be a link between 'smart initiatives' such as street Wi-Fi, smart parking, smart street lights and closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) with current Government-led accessibility programmes which increase disabled access, create safer communities and improve urban design.”

He continued, “making Kingston into a smart city requires collaboration and engagement on all levels. If this is not achieved, we will have a city with the latest technology but without people and businesses who are ready to make the most of it.”

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