While good management is a critical element in a smart city, governments are not the only
actors. Smart cities are not just top-down initiatives; they actively engage corporations and
residents in making the overall ecosystem more efficient. In fact, many of the innovations
that are changing the fabric of cities worldwide, such as e-hailing and smart office buildings,
are revenue-generating ventures introduced by private-sector companies. Companies
operating effectively in this space have identified public problems and come up with digitally
enabled solutions, many of which can be introduced quickly and cost-effectively.
Recent MGI research examined how the current generation of smart city technologies
can perform in a variety of urban settings worldwide. It found that they can improve many
quality-of-life indicators by 10 to 30 percent. They can save time, improve public health and
safety, create a cleaner and more sustainable environment, and foster a sense of community
and civic engagement. This paper takes a more focused regional view of smart cities and
their potential in Southeast Asia.