Networked Society Index 2014

imageEricsson, a Swedish multinational provider of communications technology and services, has released a report on the latest Network Society City Index  that ranks 40 cities and measures their ICT maturity in terms of leverage from ICT investments in economic, social and environmental development , i.e. the “triple bottom line” effect.

The way that cities lead development of society is increasingly built on ICT to provide efficiency and innovation, in basically all areas of a city, from health care to transport to utilities. New services in e-health, for example, will be driven by connectivity, mobility and cloud computing in the Networked Society.

There are many smart thoughts in the report and I recommend reading it, for anyone interested in place management.

To explain two of the key terms, the Triple bottom line (abbreviated in the report as TBL) is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental and financial. These three dimensions are also called the three Ps: people, planet and profit, or the "three pillars of sustainability". The Networked Society is a term used to describe a future ecosystem, envisioned by Ericsson, in which widespread internet connectivity drives change for individuals and communities.

Connectivity in this context means that a device can digitally communicate with and transfer data to other systems, through a real-time communication network, allowing for improvements in peoples lives and businesses. Take a look at our recent article about Singapore Smart Nation for examples of what this may mean. Singapore ranks number four in the index.

The top five cities in the 2014 index (Stockholm, London, Paris, Singapore and Copenhagen) remain the same as in 2013, though Paris has now surpassed Singapore to take the number three slot. Nine new cities have been added in this year’s report. They are Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, Athens, Rome, Warsaw, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Among these, Munich enjoys the highest ranking, followed by Berlin and Barcelona.


Also new in this year’s report is the inclusion of three predictions about the urban future derived from new technology and ICT solutions and applications:

  • Smart citizens: People rather than institutions will drive urban progress to a larger extent, with more open public services and governance approaches characterizing this power shift.
  • GDP redefined: By moving toward a more collaborative and sharing economy, ICT solutions will provide opportunities to create more value from fewer resources, therefore necessitating an adjustment of GDP to mirror the values important for a sustainable society.
  • Power of collaboration: Tomorrow’s networking organizations will be more flexible and efficient thanks to collaboration. Therefore the prevailing conditions of city management will also evolve, requiring changes in legislation and governance.

The report points out that many cities in emerging economies have an opportunity to leapfrog more developed cities by avoiding expensive and increasingly obsolete physical infrastructure and instead moving straight into innovative applications using advanced mobile technology.

Below is a video from October this year, where Ericsson´s CEO Hans Vestberg presents the Networked Society concept.

Hans Vestberg on the Networked Society

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