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Joined-up thinking is key to connected cities

With almost 70 per cent of the global population predicted to live in an urban environment by 2050, planners and solution providers must work together to realise their smart city aspirations


Smart city collaboration is crucial to serve the growing urban population
Smart city collaboration is crucial to serve the growing urban population

As LTE and other wireless technologies advance smart city products, solutions providers are being called upon to liaise with city planners and to take a coordinated approach on connectivity selection.


According to the findings from ABI Research’s Smart Cities Update report, nearly 70 per cent of the global population will live in an urban environment by 2050 which places increasing importance on analysing the physical and cybersecurity benefits as well as the limitations of smart city solutions.


“Solutions providers should take this time to bring down the cost of deployment and management, as well as analyse the ROI (return on investment) scenarios for city planners,” said Jake Saunders, managing director and vice president, ABI Research. “And city planners need to understand and embrace the benefits connectivity technologies will bring as a platform to these solutions.”


ABI Research forecasts global smart meter revenue will pass $13bn in 2021. The number of smart bins will increase from approximately 70,000 in 2015 to almost one million in 2021. And while smart street lighting solutions have barely scratched their market potential, they are expected to reach 78 million shipments by 2021.


The report also outlines the substantial benefits of smart city solutions. Smart meters can efficiently manage and control demand as cities face increasing strain on resources and distribution infrastructures due to rapid urbanisation. They also cut operational costs by reducing the required number of on-site meter readings. Smart street lighting allows operators to dim them when appropriate, extending their usage and reducing operating expenses. And smart bins help trash collectors optimize their routes and keep cities clean.


Wireless connectivity is predicted to capture the lion’s share of new smart street lighting deployments, but power line communication (PLC) solutions are unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future, the report concludes. Most smart street solutions will be hybrid, incorporating wireless and PLC nodes to maximise reach with Echelon, Silver Spring Networks, and Paradox Engineering.