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How Smart Cities Enable Cashless Access

So, what if your mobile device was the only wallet you needed to buy things or get around a city. If you live in a smart city, chances are you already have better access to essential needs such as transportation, education, employment and financial services – all through your smartphone. Welcome to smart Cities, connected urban areas where city leaders and organizations harness the power of emerging technologies to deliver and scale connected solutions that address the challenges cities encounter.

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and that will skyrocket to 70% by 2050.

In fact, the urbanization shift has steadily increased worldwide to 54% according to Statista.  The global share of people living in urban areas is estimated at 50% and North America is leading urbanization with 81% of the population living in cities.

So, what is urbanization?  By definition, urbanization is considered a population shift from rural to urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to the change. With so many people living, working and traveling to cities, many urban areas around the globe are facing significant challenges. Addressing the challenges of urban growth is a huge undertaking for only one organization. So, innovators like Mastercard® is taking a lead role by working with over 100 cities to help them provide residents, visitors and small businesses with better access to basic needs such as financial services, transportation, education, and employment.

What are Smart Cities?

A smart city by definition collects data about the city’s infrastructure to better manage assets and resources. Smart Cities use Information and communication technologies (ICT), to collect data and  provide better access to city services. City services can include utilities, transit, education and health services, IT connectivity and finance. The overarching aim of a smart city is to enhance the quality of living for its citizens through smart technology.

From smartphones to smart cities, any device that is connected and collecting data is considered the Internet of Things. It’s  hard to believe that he phrase “Internet of Things” was coined over a decade ago. At the time it was a futuristic phrase that is now increasingly becoming a part of daily life.

So how is data collected?  Smart devices embedded with sensors are placed around a smart city to monitor things like traffic and air quality. These devices can be embedded in infrastructure like roads or bridges to monitor traffic patterns. Smart Cities can even partner with mobile app companies like Waze to harvest data from users.  

Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving.

Furthermore, the smart city integrates information and communication technology (ICT), with physical devices connected to the Internet of things (IoT) to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. 


Cashless Access Fuels Smart City Growth

The rise of the smart city ushers in substantial economic growth and opportunities. Although cities recognize the need for a better quality of life for residents and more sustainable communities. Many urban cities, mobility models lack integration across different modes of transportation, making it hard for locals and tourists to get around. 

Mastercard® helps cities discover how they can use advanced data analytics and digital payments to fuel sustainable growth. Smart city cashless initiatives include:

  • More efficient and more welcoming – by embedding digital payments into a city’s DNA
  • Ready for sustainable growth – by unlocking the power of data and digital engagement
  • Safer and more inclusive – by reducing the reliance on cash


Smart Cities

Enabling cashless access with globally accepted and secure payment devices across public transit creates a frictionless experience.

Smart City:  What about Privacy?

From Smart Phones to Smart Cities. Technology is accelerating at a rapid pace and ushering in Industry 4.0, a new era that is blurring the lines between machines and humanity. Emerging technology like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning are helping Smart Cities provide better services to residents and visitors. 

The benefits of Smart Cities include better access to essential needs such as transportation, education, employment and financial services.  In fact, smart cities are already reducing costs and resource consumption according to proponents. But do the rewards outweigh the risks?

Opponents are concerned about the growing threats of cyber attacks against smart cities and privacy concerns about the data being collected.

In many ways emerging technology makes life more convenient. Facial recognition technology can unlock your iPhone, access online banking and even pay for lunch. But at what price?

The demand for convenience  is fueling  the growth of IoT connected devices. According to Juniper Research, the number of IoT-connected devices will “stretch into the tens of billions. Smart Cities are making experiences safer and frictionless by connecting people and places. Proponents of smart cities believe that cashless access to essential needs will help democratize services for underserved residents. Opponents fear that we may be trading privacy for convenience. What do you think?  Follow us on Facebook


Like this topic? Attend this year’s Mobile Payments Conference to learn more about emerging technology like smart cities. Future-proof your business by networking with the top thought leaders in mobile payment technology.Get your Mobile Payments Conference 2018 tickets today.