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Microcities to drive adoption of urban tech

Research by ABI finds that a wide range of smart cities technology vendors and service providers are focusing product and solution strategies on one or more microcity types.

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ABI Research finds there are currently more than 13,000 microcities globally
ABI Research finds there are currently more than 13,000 microcities globally

More than 13,000 ‘microcities’ are predicted to drive global urban tech adoption bolstered by new urbanisation concepts, a new study finds.

 

According to global tech market advisory firm ABI Research’s Smart Urban Concepts – Microcities and Cities-in-a-city application analysis report, current cities are dominated by microcity clusters – dense aggregations of economic and social life.

 

Concentrated urban zones

 

Microcity clusters are in and around airports, ports, international rail stations, venues, malls, corporate and university campuses, office parks, and other highly concentrated urban zones.

 

ABI’s analysis notes while Covid-19 has exposed the vulnerability of dense urban clusters, their role as engines of economic growth will remain unchallenged. This is in spite of categories like shopping malls, which are expected to decline in specific regions due to the accelerated adoption of digital lifestyles, like e-commerce.

 

“In any case, microcities will remain hotbeds for urban technology innovation,” said Dominique Bonte, VP end markets and verticals at ABI Research.

 

“Common technologies deployed across all microcity types include smart cameras and biometrics, robotics and automation, digital signage, private wi-fi and 5G networks, and micro-grids.”

 

These technologies allow specific challenges to be addressed related to people flow management, access and security, overall customer experience, and environmental impact while generating cost savings through maximising operational efficiencies.

“New forms of on-demand mobility such as airborne taxis and often underground high-speed transit, like ultra-fast trains and hyperloops, will ensure spreading urban zones remain hyper-connected”

While microcities will continue to define the urban footprint, future urbanisation concepts will shift from ultra-clusters to more distributed, smaller-scaled microcities, the report predicts. The shift will arise as new linear, pedestrianised, and suburban city designs informed by sustainability, resilience, and digital lifestyle imperatives start taking hold.

 

“At the same time, new forms of on-demand mobility such as airborne taxis and often underground high-speed transit, like ultra-fast trains and hyperloops, will ensure spreading urban zones remain hyper-connected,” added Bonte.

 

Unsurprisingly, the report reveals, a wide range of smart cities technology vendors and service providers are focusing their product and solution strategies on one or more microcity types.

 

Examples included in the report are: Nokia (private 5G networks for cargo ports); Accenture (consultancy and system integration for airports); Navya (driverless vehicles for airports); IBM (data analytics and AI for ports); Cisco (IoT platforms for ports); Alstom (passenger flow management at railway stations); NEC (software-defined networking for railway stations); Siemens (industrial systems for airports, campuses, and railway stations); and Here (yard management at ports).

 

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