Which city has the best technology? FAQ
Frequently asked questions from our subscribers and Innovation Cities™ Index fans
Folks like you often asked me this.
This is a tough question to answer, but from the world’s most innovative cities, five cities are beginning to stand out.
Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Dubai, Shenzhen.
Although San Francisco would top many rankings as home to a tech sector; the technology use and management of the city itself is not as advanced.
Why These 5 Top Cities?
Appreciate these are not exhaustive answers (which requires our data), but some examples:
Beyond the obvious leaders like Toyota, Mitsubishi and Hitachi, Tokyo has the world’s most advanced vending machines (example), robotics, cutting edge fashion and a fascination with using tech at every level of society. Even their toilets use robotics! Many tech companies.
Seoul has long been one of the world leaders in electronics and smart homes. They were doing home automation in the 1980s and 1990s. Home to the brilliant folks at Samsung, and their automotive sector.
Singapore needs no explanation. It lives and breathes tech.
Dubai uses any new tech they can get their hands-on from robots to cyber to holograms in airports. Dubai uses every tech innovation it can find. The government includes some very bright minds.
Shenzhen is China’s tech hub and has removed the tech smarts that once lived in Hong Kong. Shenzhen is also China’s most creative and Western city. And the Chinese think tanks proliferate here.
In comparison, City of San Francisco is only part of Silicon Valley. Apple, Google and Facebook (among other tech leaders) exist outside San Francisco proper - closer to San Jose in some cases. Tesla was over in Fremont outside San Francisco, and nearer to Oakland.
Meanwhile, the BART transport system looks like something out of the 1980s. For similar reasons Boston cannot make the list despite excellence in robotics.
In comparison, Dubai has driverless trains and clean metro stations that are future-facing.
Boston’s transport like New York’s looks like it belongs in Charles Dickens’ 19th century ‘Tale of Two Cities’.
Boston is innovative - but not top tier in application of advanced tech.
Dubai is ranked 4th in the world in 2THINKNOW’s indicators for Automation of Transport. That is 4th out of 500 cities. Well done to the RTA (the government department repsonsible), and the visionaries who made that happen. This indicator is available to order extracts from.
In Europe cities like Barcelona, Munich, Lisbon, London or Paris can make some lists. But their application of technology is less advanced than these cities in most cases.
PS - you can also benchmark all the cities listed anyway you like by ordering the data from 2THINKNOW. You can use your own definitions. See below.
Note we have in the past answered a separate research question - technological and scientific innovation (basically, STEM) which is different to advanced technology, or broader innovation.
Putting on my day ‘hat’, we have created data models for real estate and media companies to answer this research question in detail according to their ideas.
Other Advanced Tech Cities
So, use and management of a city with technology would probably see these 5 near the top of every list. There are a few other cities you could argue like Taipei - if YOU have a favourite tech city - please comment below. Reasons please.
Among ‘traditional’ big cities as another lens, you may include London or Seattle (home to Microsoft and Boeing). New York I would argue has fallen behind recently.
Technology vs Innovation
Bear in mind, innovation is not advanced technology.
Advanced technology is a tool in the toolkit of innovation.
Innovation encompasses the broader change needed. Tech is a tool.
Technology is therefore a major part of innovation, so the cities also rank well for innovation – which is the successful application of technology to cities and their stakeholders.
We would argue innovation matters most to us as humans. And as business owners, employees, citizens, voters, parents, siblings and kids. We want the technology to ‘do something’ and so may weigh different non tech solutions more highly.
Paris cafes are low-tech, but they certainly are among the world’s best. Certainly the best atmosphere in the inner-city of Paris. Like Melbourne (go their for the best coffee almost anywhere) cafes matter.
Tech doesn’t drive cafes but with ‘checkins’, ‘ipad registers’, ‘and many more recent changes it can change their appearance.
Innovation overall - Silicon Valley, NYC and Boston do better on.
We would say innovation is a more ‘human’ measure we have captured since 2007. Each of 500 cities public ranking in the Innovation Cities™ Index is available here.
Design Your Own Tech Ranking
Should you wish to produce a technology sector city model or city ranking, let us know. We will use our data to assist you. Or sell you the data to create a model based on your own views. Ask 2THINKNOW.
This can be done globally, for a single country (e.g. USA, China, Brazil) or region (EU).
Alternately we can provide detailed data and benchmarks on any tech at city level - from meta verse to crypto to smartphones or web designers.
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