Will Latin American Make Great Gains in Smart Cities Movement in 2018?

While Latin America certainly has its share of tech start-ups and firms, the fact that it has lagged behind in terms of the smart cities challenge hasn’t gone by unnoticed. Latin America is home to the second biggest share of citizens who live in cities, which makes the need for these smart cities even greater. Pressure is being put on the government, the tech industry, and facilities to step up and meet the challenge head-on. So, will 2018 be the year that Latin America makes great strides in its quest to offer more smart cities? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Smart City?

A smart city actually encompasses a few different categories. To truly be a smart city, there must be a blend of smart mobility, smart government, smart economy, smart environment, smart lifestyle, and smart citizens. It’s a rather lofty goal, and at this time, Latin America is falling behind in each of the categories. Smart cities also make it possible to connect with other smart cities around the world. In today’s global economy, this is growing more and more important.

When looking to other places in the world as examples, one can look to Kansas City in the United States, which is actually one of North America’s very first smart cities, according to councilchronicle.com. City officials are looking to convince its business community and residents that the collection of real-time data gathering is something that can benefit all. In order to make it happen, there is technology being installed on city streets.

Creating this smart city will require a blend of new and existing technology in order for it to come together and really work as it’s meant to. Other cities, governments, and tech companies from across North America and Latin America for that matter will be watching with great interest to see how the plans unfold.

Where is Latin America Lagging Behind?

As far as where Latin America is lagging behind in this push to create smart cities, a big area of concern right now is the implementation of electronic administrations. Currently, only Chile and Colombia have made any progress in this area. In order for the rest of Latin America to catch up, larger investments need to be made.

The whole goal of moving towards the smart city isn’t just about making it easier to connect to the global economy, it’s also able to provide long-term cost savings for the private sector and public administration. Of course, mobility is a big problem in Latin America’s large cities, as public transportation systems and infrastructures are being pushed to their limits. This is another area that can benefit from innovative IT with a smart city angle.

Plenty of Progress to Be Made

So, while it seems as though Latin America’s IT industry certainly has the capabilities to make these smart cities a reality, it’s a matter of convincing the various governments, the private sector, and the citizens of its benefits.

Lisa Besserman, Founder and CEO of Startup Buenos Aires, has been named as Business Insider’s “Top 100 Most Influential Women in Tech”, and the 2014 “Business Innovator of Latin America” by the Council of the Americas.
Lisa moved to Buenos Aires from New York City to create Startup Buenos Aires, the organization that represents the startup, tech and entrepreneurial community of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Startup Buenos Aires has been one of the main catalysts for strengthening the tech ecosystem in Latin America, by bringing global startup initiatives, development projects and investment opportunities to the region.
Under Lisa’s leadership Startup Buenos Aires has been credited as “Top 3 Growing Startup Cities” by CNBC and “5 Emerging Global Tech Hubs” by Entrepreneur Magazine.

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