According to the Smart Cities Council, a smart city gathers data from smart devices and sensors embedded in its roadways, power grids, buildings and other assets. It shares that data via a smart communications system that is typically a combination of wired and wireless. It then uses smart software to create valuable information and digitally enhanced services.
For a city to be smart, it needs to be able to gather and analyze all the data being collected by sensors and transform it into actionable knowledge. The future of smart cities will indeed be shaped by the Internet of Things as a networking technology and by smart data as a forecasting technology.
According to the latest research we reviewed:
- By 2025, 58% of the global population will be living in urban areas (4.6 billion people). The UN estimates that by 2050, the proportion of people living in cities will reach 66%.
- By 2025 it is projected that there will be 26 smart cities around the world, with 50% of them in Europe and North America.
- The latest research published by Gartner suggests that smart cities will use 1.1 billion connected devices in 2015, and 9.7 billion by 2020.
- Navigant Research estimates that the global smart city technology market will be worth more than $27.5 billion annually by 2023, and cumulative global investments in smart city technologies by then will be $174.4 billion.
For a smart city to be successful, it will need to adopt a structured approach, focus on open collaboration and infrastructure and engage with all levels of society.
By talking with various smart city leaders and attending local events (see recent interview with San Francisco CIO Miguel Gamino or our post about Cities 3.0 and the rise of civic innovation), we noticed that the smart city movement is no longer just in the hands of large companies and governments. From local hackathons, to Entrepreneurs-in-Residence programs, or other civic collaboration opportunities, entrepreneurs, citizens and small companies have a seat at the table and play a major role in moving the smart city forward
Today, smart cities are moving forward thanks to the creative spirit of entrepreneurs and the ability of municipalities to provide the ecosystem for both parties to work together. It is evident that inter-disciplinary collaboration is the key to solving many urban challenges.