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Smart Centres Index


The Smart Centres Index (SCI) is an initiative from Z/Yen as part of the Long Finance Programme.

Smart ledger technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have been in use for many years, although they have come to prominence in recent times due to the rise of cryptocurrencies. Increasingly, governments are addressing the issues that arise from these and other new technologies, whether from a legal or regulatory perspective; or with regard to the delivery of services to citizens. Many commercial centres are focussed on encouraging business development based on new technologies.

The Smart Centres Index is a novel approach to tracking the relative preparedness of financial and business centres in welcoming new technologies in business, finance and the delivery of public services. It is intended to provide a starting point for potential investors to examine where they might wish to explore business opportunities; and for business and financial centres to explore their competitiveness and the stance which they wish to take in welcoming or balancing the opportunities that these technologies have to offer. The index will require refinement and development as technology is moving on at pace.

The SCI looks at three aspects of the development of new technologies:

  • Regulation – with a focus on the ‘inverted U’ of optimum regulation for financial and business centres across the world, i.e. too tight or too loose. It gauges how attractive financial and business centres are at attracting new lines of business built on smart ledgers, artificial intelligence or other new technology platforms, ranging from FinTech to MedTech to smart cities to machine learning tools
  • The quality of new technology development and application – how good are the businesses in the centre at developing and applying new technology
  • The depth of the industry – how far is new technology embedded in the business taking place in the centre

The index builds on the pilot Smart Jurisdictions Index, which we published in 2018. The new SCI responds to feedback we received on that pilot and will focus on cities rather than jurisdictions and on the three factors set out above.

The Smart Cities Index uses the same methodologies that have helped our Global Financial Centres Index and Global Green Finance Index establish themselves as world-leading benchmarks.

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