The world's 23 best smart city apps?

Mon, 2013-05-20 16:01 -- Jesse Berst

A coalition of global cities has combed through 2,500 smart city apps and 456 semi-finalists to choose 23 winners. Many of them are city-scale solutions, such as the proposal to offer free WiFi in the public areas of Lagos. But many are "lightweight" apps that accomplish a simple purpose, such as augmented reality museum tours in Finland.

And I think that is a powerful lesson. Not all smart city applications have to be grandiose mega-solutions that cost millions of dollars and years of time. We can improve citizens' livability, workability and sustainability one small app at a time. The prerequisite is a platform that gives innovators access to the data they need and a way to reach an audience for their solutions. -- Jesse Berst, Smart Cities Council Chairman


To solve their most pressing challenges, 22 cities – including London, Barcelona, Paris, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Lagos and Fukuoka – challenged innovators to come up with solutions in a competition orchestrated by the  LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future Programme.

Winners were announced during the recent LLGA Cities Summit in San Francisco.  You can read more about the competition and the 23 winning apps here. We've highlighted three of them below:

  • Butler, improving elderly well-being -- Butler is a free social network whose main objectives are the improvement of users’ emotional state, the empowerment of the social support network through the use of new technologies, and the provision of activities that help to improve the emotional state and quality of life of the elderly population of Mexico City.  By Universidad Jaume I de Castellón. Learn more >>
  • Making outside spaces more resilient -- The WiFi-enabled Urban Parasol is a solution for Paris, France to provide an urban amenity that creates comfortable and interactive urban spaces year-round. By integrating sustainable solutions for energy-efficient heating, lighting and interactive functions, it encourages social interactions throughout a city’s open spaces through a human-machine interface (HMI) and provides a platform for cities to gather data from its users via Arduino technology. By Urban Parasol. Learn more >>
  • Mobility and scheduling optimization -- The benefits of reduced travel time, reduced scheduled task times, more efficient routing of field city resources between jobs – particularly in emergency situations -- are just a few areas where cities like San Francisco can identify efficiencies that could result in millions of dollars annually. Mobile workforce management software provides that real-time visibility. By ClickSoftware. Learn more >>

"LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future is a great opportunity to identify and share solutions to the global challenges that cities are facing," notes Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias. Every city is a world in itself, and we are living in an urban world, this is why it is so important to identify those common problems which require shared solutions.”