Without a doubt, the auto industry is in the midst of a technological revolution, being shaped by megatrends such as connectivity, sharing economy and electrification to name a few. As partnerships amongst technology and automotive companies increase in the race to make autonomous driving mainstream, the seemingly endless capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more vital, playing a huge role in uniting city planners and technology experts around the world.

Today, cities are placing a large emphasis around becoming smarter, safer, healthier and more sustainable. As smart city initiatives continue to increase across the globe, there still remains several challenges to which new solutions can be applied. Cities must be resilient to survive, adapt and grow despite these challenges. Fortunately, cities can harness advanced technologies today to address their challenges in new ways.

To truly transform a city, we must embrace the power of effective user experience design (UxD) to spur innovation and growth. By shifting our mindsets to building a “system of experience,” cities will represent the combination of people, processes, and technology that will define a city’s prosperity and long-term sustainability.

So how is it done? How does exceptional user experience create smart innovative city experiences that people love? There are three concepts to keep in mind:

  1. Know Thy People: To create meaningful innovations, designers must strive to understand users and care about their lives. For design to guide technology, first and foremost it needs to be “human-centered,” which starts with being in the mind, heart, and shoes of the people. An empathy-first approach will enhance citizen engagement and help drive new ways to live, work, and play in the cities of the future.

  2. Map the User Journey: Experience mapping should take into account a 360-degree view of user activities across the city, across all touch-points. With smart cities proliferating around the world, building robust experience maps will ensure a seamless, delightful experience at all touch points—physical, digital, and social.

  3. Rapid Prototyping for Time-to-Market Acceleration: Rapid iterations of ideation, design, and prototyping based on feedback from users and employees will be key to getting tangible results from UxD. Prototyping can be immeasurably useful in getting critical user and stakeholder feedback early in the development life cycle—where mistakes or modifications are cheap and easy to fix. In the context of a smart city, we may see prototyping in individual venues or smaller communities, such as airports, universities, concert halls and retail centers.

As cities become more sophisticated, connected and interactive, we will see them scaled from the early stage efforts of today to the genuinely-smart cities of the future.

To read more on why connected cities globally will demand great user experience to become smarter, safer, healthier and more sustainable, read Mohan Krishnaraj’s, the Global Head of LITEHOUSE (User Experience Group) for HARMAN Connected Services full piece on TECHONOMY here.