Bob Bennett, a former chief innovation officer for Kansas City, Missouri illustrated a common problem for cities undertaking smart-city projects — and how white-hat hackers can be a priceless complement.
They got off to a fast start. Bennett says it took just three days to develop the idea to develop its smart city and street car corridor concurrently. It took a little longer to develop the technical requirements, about three months. Then came the agreements with Sprint and Cisco for data usage, data collection, where to share the data, and who to share it with. That took nine months.
That’s a common story among people involved with “smart city” projects.
Bennett thinks this will be typical for some time to come. “I don’t think it’s out of bounds,” he says, “to say that it’ll take five to ten years to come up with a consensus approach to what is the public expectation for connectivity and what is the private sector’s expectations for generating revenue from connectivity.”
White-hat hackers, meanwhile, make apps that fill in the cracks where city administrators don’t see or don’t have time for. They can design, build, and propagate their wares unfettered by public expectations.
That speed holds promise. Imagine the Web without private ideas and development. It also holds danger, too. Think of how Facebook content has been corrupted.
Will private, grassroots developers be an important complement to public projects? It’s a theory that I hope to develop. I’m looking for proof and disproof, both. If you have either one of those or what may be wild, unfounded opinions, please enter a comment.