New investment models needed for smart cities

Wednesday, 16 August, 2017

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Governments are being urged to ease procurement practices, enabling micro-investment for the future of smart cities.

The CEO of venture capital firm Azcende, Alok Patel, believes that government procurement processes need to change in order to accommodate and encourage innovation.

This will enable a flood of private sector capital for innovation at the local level, as well as create scalable solutions for the developing world.

“Australia, with its geographic challenges, can solve problems that will transform the developing world — if we do it will because we made the right choices today,” said Patel.

According to the recently released Azcende Habitats for Humans white paper on smart cities, the most important thing is making urban centres work better than they have before.

“It’s not a matter of waiting for new technologies — they are here right now and they can transform our cities immediately,” said Patel.

“But neither governments nor the private sector have solved the problem of how to work together to achieve this transformation.

“Both parties will need to overhaul their approach to create better ways to collaborate. To realise this potential, procurement, data sharing and financing models must change.”

Patel believes that the private sector is frustrated, because it knows how to invest but faces obstacles in working with government and getting innovation through prohibitive government procurement practices.

“Still, there is a huge appetite in the private sector to invest in solving the problems of cities,” he said.

Azcende’s white paper Habitats for Humans was the result of a series of roundtables in Sydney and Melbourne attended by leaders in business, construction, infrastructure, financial services, start-ups, government, logistics, communications and education as well as smart city specialists.

The paper is available here.

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