Using sharing economy to empower the local ecosystem for smart cities.
For years we have been working in retrofitting our cities, developing a new concept so called smart cities. It is clear that the main driver is technology and successful projects nowadays are the ones oriented to citizens. New apps and platforms are emerging as solutions to integrate government and citizens, but the question is: are we taking full the benefit from it? Isn't it time to rethink also the way we deal with the digital world, based on the internet and the way we use it to empower our smart cities?
DigitalTown (DT), an American disruptive startup from Seattle is trying to fill this gap. They were founded in 2005 and re-launched in September of 2016 as a public company (OTC PINK: DGTW) and it already worth millions of dollars. It delivers innovative web and mobile solutions to solve municipal challenges. The idea is to transform city websites into the a key-point to build a smart city that helps nurture and support the local community. Imagine a digital city master plan built on a smart web, where you navigate directly to everything, addressing special local domains from city services (.city) to legal services (.law), retailers (.shop), restaurants (.menu) and even private art dealers (.art).
Isn't it time to rethink also the way we deal with the digital world?
DT is using the cloud as an organizing force for an improved quality of life among people, what they are calling -IoP (Internet of People) and businesses -IoB (Internet of Business). The smart web is intuitive, and DigitalTown is the architect. SmartWeb gives you the convenience of the big box retailers, with the benefits of buying local and keeping money in the local economy. Residents and tourists should feel at home! The concept transcend the idea of citizenship and bring all actors (tourists, residents and real local citizens) to the same ground.
DigitalTown’s smart search is a whole new way of looking at internet search. Unlike search behemoths like Google and Bing, DigitalTown search is not being done on a single website, but rather on a massive global network of local sites, all of which are connected by a single login.
The full concept is based on four basic principles:
Local First: For starters, city search powered by DigitalTown is local. Rather than wading through a sea of irrelevant search results, local search is focused on what is truly local, systematically weeding out the search results published by sources that are either not authoritative or not local. If you are in London, you will see the best offer of local businesses.
Smart Search: Smart search uses natural language to smartly identify what you are seeking. If there is a known structured answer to the question, including the ability to book or buy from a local merchant, these options are presented rather than having to click out to an external site. Keep it simple but always local.
User-aware: When logged in, Smart Search knows your preferences and over time learns more about you, and assigns preference in search results to the items that are most pertinent to you based on your interests and preferences. Doesn't matter where you are, you are unique even when in the digital world, so why not bringing this to the real local world.
Descriptive sites: DigitalTown’s global network of sites follow a standard set of conventions based on cities and topics. Nashville.city is about the city of Nashville. London.menu is about restaurants in London. All of a sudden the web makes sense! In the end, the idea is giving you the possibility to take advantage from your unique global digital identity when enjoying the best experiences that local business can offer you around the world.
SmartWeb gives you the convenience of the big box retailers, with the benefits of buying local and keeping money in the local economy
Economic Development behind a new Smart Web
In May 2017, I attended ICANN event in Madrid called GDD Summit to stakeholders of the new Internet, where I had the pleasure to interview the CEO of DT, Rob Monster. ICANN is the global regulator of the Internet. Rob explained me the new Internet is based on descriptive extensions that can help make search work better by creating focused search experiences that are intuitive and relevant. Descriptive domain extensions like .MENU for restaurants, .LAW for legal services and SHOP for retail are part of this new movement called Smart Web and will make search work better.