Key Points

  • Global spending on connected and smart city technologies is expected to grow from $36 billion this year to $133 billion in 2019, according to BI Intelligence estimates, as cities grapple with exploding urban populations and adopt IoT technologies to better manage resources and communicate with citizens.
  • IoT investments will inject an estimated $421 billion back into cities in 2019 through a combination of software, hardware, and installation revenues, as well as savings gained from increased efficiencies. 
  • Public benefits of connected and smart city technologies include improved public safety, reduced traffic congestion, improved energy efficiency, and better citizen communications. For example, implementing connected utility infrastructure, such as smart electricity meters, could promote energy sustainability, cut operational costs, and improve quality of life by reducing pollution from nearby power plants.
  • While many cities have at least some connected infrastructure in place, true "smart cities" have a platform for ingesting, analyzing, and acting on data from disparate connected systems. Such a platform is necessary to realize the maximum value of IoT technologies.
  • Barcelona has been deemed the world's leading smart city. It built its smart city infrastructure with a forward-looking approach, by planning each connected project with a clear expectation for how a given system would connect back to a central platform. The city has also relied heavily on open source code and citizen feedback to continuously improve IoT implementations.
  • For other cities looking to become "smart," it's imperative that they have a strategy in place for coordinating one-off deployments. Cities can also leverage Barcelona’s work by using the open source architecture behind its Urban Platform.

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Introduction

As urban areas become exponentially more populated over the next decade, cities will increasingly adopt IoT technologies to lower infrastructure costs, more effectively interact with residents, and enhance urban services, like meter parking and public Wi-Fi. Some cities with connected infrastructure, like Barcelona, will then go a step further and integrate, analyze, and act on data from a variety of different connected implementations from one central platform. We call these cities "smart cities."

The US Department of Transportation notes in its [...]