CHICAGO—So-called “Smart Cities” already are providing better, more efficient public services through collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data. But while Smart Cities depend on data to deliver improved results in traffic flow, trash pick-up, public parking and many other areas, the collection of data raises privacy and security concerns.

With that in mind, a Womble Bond Dickinson team of Malcolm Dowden, Morris Ellison and Marc Lemon discussed “Can You Finance Your Smart City Projects Through Data Analytics? How Can You Overcome The Legal Barriers?” at the 4th annual Smart Cities International Symposium. The Womble Bond Dickinson team was joined by Bruno Peters, Deputy Regional Director Canada West of the IBI Group. The event took place on January 22nd in Chicago and was widely attended by owners, developers, consultants, and concessionaires in the smart cities space.

Data may be collected from many sources and in different ways, including connected infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, CCTV and facial recognition software, smartphones, card, contactless or e-payment wallets. Well-advised and properly informed policies, technology choices and operational procedures can ensure that data collection, privacy and protection are a source of strength and commercial opportunity, and not a point of legal vulnerability. 

The panelists presented a critical overview of approaches and possible applications of data laws, public-private partnerships (P3's) and other means of financing projects. They offered views on how to coordinate and balance citizens' rights and privacy concerns with more efficient and sustainable use of infrastructure, energy and natural resources, improved educational and healthcare outcomes and improved social justice, along with alternative financing and private investment in, or operation of, smart cities infrastructure. They also discussed the use of public-private partnerships, private capital investment, financing, as well as private operation and maintenance of smart city projects.

Also, click here to read “Morris Ellison Pens Op-Ed on 5G, Smart Cities for Charleston Post & Courier”.