Building the next generation of smart cities

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Key standards for market acceleration
  4. The smart city marketplace
  5. Outlook and key takeaways
  6. About Jody Ranck

1. Summary

Cities are becoming the focal point for policy and investment activities that drive economic growth and build more resilient social structures to address disasters, climate change, and healthcare. The ongoing financial crisis has prompted city managers globally to think about ways to achieve greater efficiencies and compete against other cities and regions for talent and business.

Smart cites tap into technology and social experiments with open data, civic hacking, low-cost sensors, and big data as a tool for city managers. Parallel investments in M2M, the internet of things, wearable computing, and mobile devices have added to the range of innovative tools and platforms to create real-time data on the dynamics of social interactions, the environment, health, transportation, water management, and utilities via smart grids.

Urban planning, just like healthcare and a host of other social sectors, is filled with data silos, fragmented policy-making, and local politics that make the task of building a smart city quite challenging. These trends could offer a tremendous number of new business opportunities for technology companies in the future, though plenty of obstacles remain. This report will examine the possibilities and challenges that smart cities are beginning to face in the wake of the first generation of lessons learned.

Key findings include:

  • Greater use of open data, open standards and open APIs along with business process standards could improve efficiencies in procurement as well as facilitate the creation of enterprise grade platforms that can transcend silos and improve privacy and security.
  • The EU, Singapore and Korea have been some of the leading areas for smart city growth but we should expect a great deal of activity in middle income countries like Brazil, India, and China in the coming years.
  • Energy, transportation and public safety/sustainability (recycling/waste) tend to be the most popular verticals in cities but the IoT opens up a number of growing opportunities for health, education, and system integration across all sectors.
  • Some of the leading companies driving innovation in this space include Cisco, IBM, Siemens, Accenture, and PwC.
  • Smart cities combined with well-informed open data policies offer opportunities for more bottom-up or hybrid approaches to smart cities that build on civic hacks, local accelerators, and university research to support the concept of “city as platform” for catalyzing innovation at a local and regional level.


Thumbnail image courtesy of: iStock/Thinkstock.

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