New technologies, ground-breaking applications, and the latest types of information management systems are flooding into emerging Smart City landscapes. Some technologies provide network access, some monitor physical workings of hard assets, while others collect and mine the large volumes of data that is used to roll out and administer public services.
While these advancements in how objects and systems are connected and managed are making new capabilities possible for smart cities, they also present a unique challenge. The influx of innovation has actually created a fragmented baseline of technology that doesn’t always integrate as expected or as desired. Companies are racing to gain early adoption and thus a competitively advantageous and lucrative position in the market as a preferred vendor.
Exactly which technology(ies) and company(ies) will emerge as market leader is still to be determined, but there are already a handful of recognized technology suppliers in the Smart Cities segment that are actively battling for the top slot. Govtech.com identifies the top 10 companies expected to supply smart cities of the future as:
Markets and Markets Research identified the exact same list of Smart City suppliers, indicating that these early entrants to the Smart City market may already be well recognized. Interestingly, Markets and Markets Research also published a list of key innovators in the market.
Silver Spring Networks
It will be interesting to watch how these suppliers and innovators either align or compete to push their version of smart city technology forward.
Despite the largely fragmented technology and equipment landscape, World Smart City reports that there has been a “Significant milestone for Smart City development”. At the urging of The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), global standards organizations have agreed to work together toward standardization.
“In the wake of the World Smart City Forum, which was held on 13 July 2016 in Singapore, representatives of IEC, ISO, ITU, IEEE, CEN-CENELEC and ETSI gathered for a meeting initiated by the IEC. This meeting was a global first and part of an ongoing dialogue among standards organizations. The aim was to accelerate and better align Smart City standardization work, which is essential for successful Smart City deployment. Between 60 % and 70 % of humanity is expected to be living in urban environments by 2050.” ~ISO
Technical standardization should provide some assistance and direction for cities looking to implement Smart City technologies to improve urban living and city services. Regardless of who comes out on top in the race for Smart City technology, cities themselves are the real winners. Gartner predicts that Smart City technology will “leverage context-based data from different city infrastructures to develop sustainable and forward-looking business and citizen services, while optimizing city operations.”