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IoT ‘vital to survival’ for telcos and systems integrators

Energy, lighting, parking and buildings identified as offering most opportunity, with blockchain and citizen engagement tools cited as emerging areas

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The key benefit of the IoT is the ability to develop open and flexible smart city solutions
The key benefit of the IoT is the ability to develop open and flexible smart city solutions

More than a third of companies believe the Internet of Things (IoT) is vital to the survival of their business, according to a new smart cities survey undertaken by SmartCitiesWorld and global software company, PTC. Energy, lighting, parking and buildings are identified as the most promising smart city areas. Blockchain was also cited as an emerging area and citizen engagement tools are seen as representing a growing opportunity.

 

The report, IoT platforms power smart city success, which surveyed leaders from mainly telecommunication companies and systems integrators, also found that horizontal rather than vertical solutions are increasingly important. Respondents say over half of their business involves integrating several open systems, and they expect this to grow significantly in the next 18 months.

 

IoT platforms are increasingly important to building a successful smart city, with solutions providers seeing them as crucial for strategic integration across different smart city areas and improving outcomes for cities. The key benefit of IoT platforms is cited as the ability to develop flexible and open solutions, as well as innovate faster and more easily. Respondents also identified being part of an ecosystem as a major advantage.

 

“It’s validating to read these findings and confirm how IoT platforms are perceived in the market,” said Scott McCarley, Senior Director of Smart City Solutions. “With our ThingWorx platform, we’re continually working to enable smart, connected operations, and to foster a strong partner ecosystem–both of which are critical for smart city development.”

 

The report highlights that a number of challenges remain, though, if IoT’s full potential is to be realised in smart cities. When asked what is impeding the IoT in smart cities, almost a third of respondents (31 per cent) cited overcoming traditional mindsets and silo thinking. This was followed by traditional city procurement and budgeting, as well as lack of collaboration between stakeholders.

 

“In smart city markets, we’ve yet to see a single feature of IoT platforms that is universally prioritised,” admits McCarley. “That said, a platform’s ability to break down siloed data should be considered a massive enabling factor. And our partners might argue that ThingWorx’s rapid application development is necessary for being able to respond to rapidly evolving requirements.”

 

The report notes that there is no “killer app” in the smart cities and IoT market, and therefore offerings need to be designed to evolve with customers’ needs. Information from different assets need to be brought together so those looking to lead in this space must be ecosystem players.

 

Many highly effective point solutions have been developed to tackle challenges around areas such as water, energy and traffic management but truly smart cities only come to life when vertical systems are broken out of their silos.

 

On average our survey respondents said more than half (53 per cent) of their business involves integrating a number of open systems. This rises to 64 per cent for those people who said that IoT was vital to survival. The importance of this is increasing too. On average, respondents expect this to grow by at least 48 per cent over the next 18 months.

 

The report also includes case studies of companies that are using a platform approach to develop and implement smart city applications. Companies featured are: Indian systems integrator, Tech Mahindra; water management specialist, AquamatiX; and Swiss energy technology company DEPsys.

 

The report can be downloaded at: IoT platforms power smart city success

 

SmartCitiesWorld and PTC is holding a webinar that will explore some of the findings that emerged in the research and the role of IoT platforms in a smart city strategy on Thursday 14th June 2018. Click here to register and find out more.

 

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