This open access special issue of the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research (JTAER) on Applications for Smart Cities has been edited by Hans Schaffers (Aalto University, Centre of Knowledge and Innovation Research), Carlo Ratti (MIT, Senseable City Laboratory) and Nicos Komninos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, URENIO Research).
1. Special Issue on Smart Applications for Smart Cities – New Approaches to Innovation: Guest Editors’ Introduction
Hans Schaffers, Carlo Ratti and Nicos Komninos
This Special Issue addresses the role of smart applications in cities, especially inasmuch they foster enhanced living and working conditions, new modes of participation and a higher level of engagement of citizens. In this issue also explores the processes of creating smart applications and how it is intertwined with urban development. The papers cover a range of different topics and methodologies and might help academics, governments and practitioners to explore new directions and generate knowledge and solutions towards smarter cities. The editors have encouraged papers related to user-centred approaches for innovation in smart city applications. Much attention was paid to empirical evidence for measuring and evaluating the impact of applications and cities, as well as the introduction of methodology frameworks from social sciences. Integrating such frameworks with technical approaches to smart city applications development and living lab environments constitutes a promising and rich research area for the next years.
2. Smart Ideas for Smart Cities: Investigating Crowdsourcing for Generating and Selecting Ideas for ICT Innovation in a City Context
Dimitri Schuurman, Bastiaan Baccarne, Lieven De Marez and Peter Mechant
The paper investigates crowdsourcing as a process for generating and selecting ideas for innovation in urban environments. They address the strengths and weaknesses of crowdsourcing for idea generation and idea selection in the context of smart city innovation. The principles of crowdsourcing are explained and the different manifestations are demonstrated. By means of a case study, the generation of ideas for innovative uses of ICT for city innovation by citizens through an online platform is studied, as well as the selection process. For this selection, a crowdsourcing solution is compared to a selection made by external experts. The comparison of both indicates that using the crowd as gatekeeper and selector of innovative ideas yields a long list with high user benefits. However, the generation of ideas in itself appeared not to deliver extremely innovative ideas. The authors conclude that crowdsourcing thus appears to be a useful and effective tool in the context of smart city innovation, but should be thoughtfully used and combined with other user involvement approaches and within broader frameworks such as Living Labs.
3. Do Smart Cities Produce Smart Entrepreneurs?
The paper of Sauer focuses on how smart cities are enabling entrepreneurial to engage in innovation. The starting point is the role of living labs aiming to engage in user-centred design practices where users are included in their daily life environment as innovative agents. Starting from the consideration that empirical insights in end user engagement in Living Lab practices are currently lacking, this article analyzes the involvement of a group of entrepreneurs in a Living Lab smart city pilot, aiming to analyze how and to what extent the Living Lab enabled the involved entrepreneurs to engage in bottom up innovation. The article finds that user innovativeness was limited by the pre-configuration of the entrepreneur as lay tester rather than as an active user-innovator. Furthermore, it is suggested that the inherent tension in Living Lab practices between configuring users and actual user practices hampers user innovativeness in general. A conclusion is that opening up Living Lab practices to daily life dynamics stimulates the transition from tester to innovator in a daily life setting and subsequently makes entrepreneurs more readily smart.
4. Location-aware Mobile Services for a Smart City: Design, Implementation and Deployment
Luca Calderoni, Dario Maio and Paolo Palmieri
Calderoni, Maio and Palmieri study the design, implementation and deployment of location-aware mobile services for a smart city. They design, implement and deploy a smart application that retrieves and conveys to the user relevant information on the user’s surroundings. This case study application discusses the challenges involved in creating a location-aware mobile service based on live information coming from the city IT infrastructure. The service that is currently being deployed in the Italian city of Cesena has been designed with the goal of being a general model for future applications. In particular, it is discussed the location-aware and mobile development, cloud and cluster based geographical data storage, and spatial data computation. For each of these topics implementation and deployment solutions are presented based on currently available technology.
5. Virtual Cities in Urban Planning: The Uppsala Case Study
Cristina Videira Lopes and Christer Lindström
Videira Lopes and Lundström present a case study on the use of virtual city in planning for urban development. The authors observe that gearing cities towards a path of sustainability is a challenging task. Change is usually met in reality with enormous resistance from the economic and political models that underlie cities. Powerful tools for promoting change are those related to conceptualization and visualization. When considering urban plans that aren’t just incremental improvements over what already exists, city officials, urban planners and the general public must be able to visualize not just the merits of those plans in isolation, but how they interact with all the infrastructure that already exists. This paper describes one such urban plan that has been under consideration in the city of Uppsala Sweden, for the past 5 years: a solar-powered Personal Rapid Transit system connecting the main train station to the hospital and the university. The process of discussing this system included the development of a virtual reality simulation of parts of the city. The paper reports on the process and role of this virtual reality simulation.
6. Municipal Benefits of Participatory Urban Sensing: A Simulation Approach and Case Validation
Till J. Winkler, Holger Ziekow and Martin Weinberg
The paper of Winkler, Ziekow and Weinberg explores the benefits of participatory urban sensing, and uses simulation approaches combined with case validation. Involving citizens in public affairs through the use of participatory sensing applications is an emerging theme in mobile government. The authors take an action design research perspective to provide insight into the often overlooked potential of citizen-centric, external M-Government services. They consider the scenario of a sensing application for reporting urban infrastructure issues to the municipality and present a System Dynamics model to estimate the diffusion, use, and municipal impacts of such service. The model is applied to the case of a large German city, a dedicated survey, and further data sources. The simulation results indicate that, compared to internal information acquisition procedures, the use of urban sensing can improve availability of environmental information at a comparable level of cost. Furthermore, we discuss a number of aspects and learnings related to an urban sensing implementation and provide an empirical estimation of the diffusion model. The results presented provide an impetus for researchers and government practitioners to reconsider the benefits of urban sensing applications in E-Government endeavours.
7. Mobile Business and the Smart City: Developing a Business Model Framework to Include Public Design Parameters for Mobile City Services
The paper of Walravens proposes a new business model framework that allows the design and analysis of value networks for mobile services in a public context. It starts from a validated business model framework that relies on a set of design parameters to evaluate business models. This is expanded by eight parameters to include important aspects that come into play when a public entity (i.e. a city government) becomes involved in the value network. This framework is applied to the case of the 311 service offered by the City of New York. Given the quickly changing power relations in the mobile telecommunications industry, this framework offers both an academic and practical tool, enabling the comparison and analysis of mobile city service business models.
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