Life in a smart city: advantages and opportunites

James Milligan, Global Head of Technology

The continued advancement in smart cities and the technological innovation within them is truly exciting. Citizens’ needs are being catered for, but with a greater regard for sustainability and public health.

To find out more, I got the views and insights from members of the Hays Technology team in some of the world’s highest-rated smart cities:

  • Barcelona: Renato Pereira, Business Manager
  • London: Alfie Whattam, UK&I National Lead - Hays Software Development Recruitment
  • New York: Samar Parikh, Technology Client Relations Manager
  • Singapore: Daen Huang, Technology Manager
  • Toronto: Thomas Mallerman, Technology Senior Manager

Check out our current available jobs in tech, or get in touch if you’re hiring in these cities.

1) In your opinion, what are the benefits of living in a smart city?

Renato, Barcelona: Better services and connectivity, as well as greater security. We also have solutions to environmental problems. Tackling these issues requires the development of innovative technologies – with that comes exciting jobs.

Alfie, London: The environmental impact is certainly significant. The increased adoption of ‘smarter vehicles’ means the expansion of the electronic charging sector in the city, making it more convenient for users seeking a better alternative to traditional automotive transport.

Samar, NY: There are several! The enhanced engagement citizens have with their environment, more effective AI-data driven decision making and safer communities are big ones. There are also better transportation and all the ‘go-green’ initiatives to make the city cleaner and help reduce our environmental footprint.

Daen, Singapore: The one true benefit of living in a smart city is convenience, from cashless payments to smart transportation (I.e. Smart parking management such as Parking.SG ) to improved digital government services. A good example here is our SingPass App, which serves as a digital identity for all Singaporean citizens/PRs and give us more convenient and secure online transactions with both the government and private sector organisations.

Thomas, Toronto: One major one is helping people save money. As it happens, there is currently a trial and pilot project to bring free Wi-Fi to multiple areas of the city. This will improve connectivity for tens of thousands of people.

2) What are some of the recent innovations?

Renato, Barcelona: Energy-efficient LED streetlights have been in use for a few years. We have a smart parking system that lowers vehicle emissions and also Bicing, which is a bicycle-sharing model for citizens.

Alfie, London: Given the size and population of London, smart mobility is high on the agenda for its officials. A new, modern underground trainline opened in May, and last year saw a roll-out of rental e-scooters in parts of the city. These are parts of an initiative to improve the citizens’ quality of life and tackle air pollution.

Samar, NY: “Safer city” apps like the Citizen app, and implementing IoT/IoMT/‘Smart’ devices in different facilities. New innovative health tech devices and platforms are being released too, making healthcare easier & more effective than ever for patients. The MTA has rolled out OMNY, which allows transport riders to pay using your phone (no more metrocards). Lastly, LinkNYC is set to provide free Wi-Fi all over the five boroughs.

Daen, Singapore: Singapore has built its first ever Smart District in Punggol that showcases how integrated master planning and technology can help create a more liveable and sustainable environment for the community at a local district level. A renowned feature of the smart town includes a Pneumatic Waste Collection system, eliminating the need for waste collection trucks and eradicate odour from refuse chutes.

Thomas, Toronto: Other than the implementation of free Wi-Fi to multiple neighbourhoods, the city has also brought in automated water meters, allowing accurate data to be sent to the city for reading and billing purposes.

3) Are you seeing tech roles available that reflect the city’s status?

Renato, Barcelona: Yes, Barcelona´s tech market continues to grow and we’re observing an increasing demand for tech profiles. The tech sector already represents 35.7% of the total foreign investment in Catalonia, and more and more digital hubs are being created here.

Alfie, London: I can think of a couple of recent ones.  A Mid-Level Back End Engineer for a global tech consultancy, which is working on a government project to help with traffic management and optimisation. Also, a Senior Full Stack Software Developer at a company which creates ‘smart sensor’ technology that automatically picks up any faults with the railway lines.

Samar, NY: Yes, there’s definitely been a significant increase as NYC has become a smart city. There’s been demand for people to design and build these new devices and platforms and then manage them. Data analytics is important, as is making use of the data afterwards and uploading it to the various different cloud environments these companies are utilising.

Daen, Singapore: Most certainly. The rise of smart nation innovations in the country has resulted in the creation of tech roles, especially in the area of research and IoT positions (i.e. Image and signal processing, 5G and Artificial Intelligence). Start-ups aiming to disrupt the IoT space are also increasing their hiring appetite for commercial roles such as product managers and business development managers.

Thomas, Toronto: Toronto is quickly becoming a serious tech hub, especially since remote work became the norm. We’re seeing more US companies hiring their workforces here because the talent is incredibly strong!

Are you hiring or looking for work in any of these locations? Contact Hays today.


James Milligan
Global Head of Hays Technology

James Milligan is the Global Head of Hays Technology, having joined in 2000. In his role, he is responsible for the strategic development of Hays' technology businesses globally.