This paper focuses on the emergence of smart cities and on the coordination problems of service innovation in this sector. Through a review of the literature on Smart Cities, the paper confronts the various visions of the smart cities concept. Two visions are particularly pinpointed, but also questioned in order to analyze the smart city in a more pragmatic way. In the first part, a typology of the urban services (departments) that usually characterize the intelligence of a city is presented with the aim to underline the key role of the economic platforms in the development of urban services. In the second part, using the 'smart grids' and mobile services cases, the article underlines that there is no direct transitivity between smart grids and smart cities. It focuses then on the NFC (Near Field Communication) example to analyze the role of the ecosystem actors. The paper concludes that none of the industrial, private or public actors has the capacity to act as an economic platform. The territory appears as the only framework able to introduce a collective innovation dynamic. A simplified reading of technical and interactional processes which are necessary to the deployment of the urban NFC services is proposed, based on the examples of French cities (Nice, Strasbourg and Bordeaux). It leads us to conclude on the key-role of the territory in the coordination of the actors of the ecosystem. The city is identified as the only key actor able to introduce a collective innovation dynamics, because it is the holder of the necessary economic platform (the urban services and the territory as the place of experiment) for the emergence of the ecosystem. © De Boeck Supérieur.
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