IDC Government Insights has launched a Smart Cities Strategies research advisory service to analyze and advise cities and local governments on how to leverage technology to improve city operations and better serve citizens. Designed for local government ICT and business planners, technology buyers, and program leaders who are seeking to understand how to strategically invest in and deliver technologies that create Smart City ecosystems, the Smart Cities Strategies research advisory service analyzes cities and vendors that are successfully partnering to deliver these services. The effort reflects similar themes in other big IT shops like IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative launched last year.

Starting now and throughout 2013, IDC, the global technology research and advisory firm will begin conducting studies on issues facing state and local IT shops. Topics are to include: smart city profiles from the United States, Europe, and Asia/Pacific; public safety including the development of the integrated, real-time crime center as well as predictive disaster management and NextGen 911 initiatives; public works and transportation including 511 systems, advanced parking management, and infrastructure/asset management; citizen engagement, and vendor relationships.

The concept of Smart Cities is something largely invented by the government IT vendor community to cover a variety of product lines including things like smart grid technology, law enforcement analytics, sensor technology and middleware that reports back to public offices at the state and municipal level about the working order of infrastructure. More and more, states and cities are relying on these technologies to cut costs and make sure scant resources are deployed as effectively as possible. Many of these products and pilots and their performance are reported on by CivSource, we think this area will only continue to grow as the demand on state and local infrastructure is only likely to increase.

The MIT Media Lab also recently launched a city science project that provides scholarly research on how cities are leveraging technology to meet their needs. IDC’s first release of municipal research will be – “The Relationship Between Smart Government and Smart Cities Concepts;” “The Evolution of the Smart City: IDC Government Insights Smart City Maturity Model, Version 2;” and “Smart Cities – U.S. Survey Results.”

“Successful cities will need to differentiate themselves to attract investment and productive residents. This, coupled with constrained financial resources, fast-growing populations, and aging infrastructures, is driving investment in Smart City solutions,” said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, Research Director, IDC Government Insights.