Collaborating for Inclusion in Smart Cities

Launching a new Smart Cities for All resource!

One year ago, at the m-Enabling Summit, G3ict and World Enabled launched the Smart Cities for All global initiative. Our goal was to understand how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are being made available to persons with disabilities in Smart Cities. In the first year of this global initiative, we completed three informative data gathering activities: a survey of more than 250 global experts, a series of roundtable discussions in global Smart Cities (Barcelona, London, Quito, New York, and San Francisco), and one-on-one interviews with numerous Smart City program managers and technologists. This extensive work confirmed that today’s Smart Cities are failing persons with disabilities. It also helped us to identify key barriers to making progress on digital inclusion in Smart Cities. Last month, our Smart Cities for All global initiative released four tools to help cities, their partners, and their citizens take steps to be more inclusive. We have begun the process to translate each of the tools into several different languages.

Today, at m-Enabling 2017, G3ict and World Enabled are pleased to celebrate the first anniversary of our partnership. Today we also take some new steps to strengthen our commitment to digital inclusion in Smart Cities by helping launch an important new report. At today’s opening of m-Enabling 2017, we are announcing the release of a new report by AT&T in collaboration with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR): Smart Cities for All: A Vision for an Inclusive, Accessible Urban Future.

Based on AT&T’s experience in and leadership on both Smart Cities and digital inclusion, this new report recognizes that technology will fundamentally alter city infrastructure and the ways city services are deployed. It calls on city officials and their partners to adopt four keys to success to ensure that Smart Cities are inclusive:

1. Design for Inclusion: Universal Design criteria can ensure technologies are usable by all citizens. Additionally, there are opportunities for cities to embed Smart City solutions that will leapfrog barriers to adoption.
2. Engage Partners and Stakeholders: Engaging aging communities and those living with disabilities in the planning of Smart Cities is critical to ensuring programs align with citizen needs and expectations. 
3. Promote Adoption of Technology: Increase access both to broadband connectivity and connected devices, as well as the necessary technology education to fully utilize these benefits. 
4. Foster the Entrepreneur Ecosystem: Enable social innovation to flourish and direct entrepreneurship to benefit all communities.

We know that the opportunity to transform cities is a global one. Truly achieving Smart Cities for All will take vision and strong partnerships. We look forward to leveraging this new resource as we partner with governments, civil society, and industry worldwide to evangelize ICT accessibility and promote digital inclusion on a global scale.