Most industry experts agree that the adoption of the Smart City concept is growing around the country and world. Cities are looking to new and technologically savvy ways to meet the needs of their citizens on a broad range of levels from social connectivity to city infrastructure management and service delivery. That could mean implementing city wide Wi-Fi for connectivity, the construction of LEED certified buildlings for sustainability, or the use of electronic health care records for easier medical care. Cities may help you find available parking or coordinate traffic patterns to relieve congestion. City planners track and analyze large resources like water, waste water and garbage collection. Being “Smart” is attractive and offers early adopting cities a competitive advantage over their competing metro areas.
Gartner Research “revealed that CIOs and urban management leaders have embraced the smart city idea for infrastructure and service delivery, despite the technological challenges.” They go on to say that “[B]by 2020, 10% of smart cities will use streetlamps as the backbone for a smart city WAN.”
Navigant Research agrees. “The momentum behind the development of smart cities continues unabated. City leaders around the world are committing to smart city objectives as they attempt to shape the development of their cities to meet social, economic, and environmental challenges.”
Smart City projects are growing nationally and abroad. Planned projects, projects that are currently being built, and projects that have been completed, are all on track for substantial growth. Experts are still debating how much growth Smart Cities projects will experience and the actual value of it.
IHS Market Research reports “Smart Cities to Rise Fourfold in Number from 2013 to 2025.” IHS defines smart cities as “cities that have deployed—or are currently piloting—the integration of information, communications and technology (ICT) solutions across three or more different functional areas of a city. These functional areas include mobile and transport, energy and sustainability, physical infrastructure, governance, and safety and security.” They predict that under the IHS definition of smart city, annual investment of smart city projects reached slightly over $1 billion in 2013, but will go on to surpass $12 billion in 2025.
Markets and Markets Research reports “Smart Cities Market worth 757.74 Billion USD by 2020.” They go on to say that “the [S]smart cities market has been segmented into focus areas, smart enabling technologies, and regions. The focus areas are transportation, utilities, buildings, and smart citizen services. Smart enabling technologies are further segmented into networking, location-based technologies, security, artificial intelligence, and other smart technologies. Finally, the smart cities market is segmented according to the regions of North America, Europe, APAC, MEA, and Latin America.
Although the exact amount and direction varies among research groups, the consensus is clear that the trajectory of this industry illustrates substantial growth. In the U.S., there are a number of cities rising to the challenge. On the East coast Boston, New York and Washington D.C. have been making a name for themselves as Smart Cities. West coast early adopters include San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and San Diego. Columbus, winner of the Smart Cities Challenge and Chicago remind us that innovation and technology isn’t just for high-tech hubs, but is being incorporated by cities of all sizes and locations.