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Chordant teams with CA Technologies for Smart City Benefits Index

The higher the rankings, the greater the gains, and the higher the ROI from smart city-styled projects

Boston skyline
Boston skyline

Chordant, the smart city-focused IoT business of InterDigital, has teamed-up with CA Technologies to launch the first CA-Chordant Smart City Benefits Index that examines the relative potential benefits of smart city technology in America’s major metropolitan areas.


Produced by industry-leading market research firm Compass Intelligence, the Benefits Index uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate the relative benefits of smart city technology for 50 selected US cities based on 21 data points.


Unlike other smart city rankings that log the temperature of a city’s current smart status, the Benefits Index ranks cities by how they are positioned to benefit from smart city projects: the higher the rankings, the greater the gains, and the higher the ROI from smart city-styled projects.


“We’re looking at evaluating cities based on given statistics, criteria and behaviours of each city, and we are looking at which cities we believe will benefit the most from smart city project initiation, implementation and scale,” said Stephanie Atkinson, founder and principal research consultant at Compass Intelligence.


While only four of the top 10 cities in the Benefit Index are significant tech hubs – Boston, Austin, Seattle and San Diego – it is cities with a more traditional mix of industries (Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Phoenix and Kansas City) that dominate the top ten.


Cleveland, typically seen as a net loser in the transition from industrial to technological, comes in 12th ahead of tech giants San Jose and San Francisco, while Minneapolis, one of the larger metro areas in the United States, came in at the bottom 10 of the index.


The selection of 50 cities was based on over 1,000 compiled and curated news articles, reports, summaries, and research over the course of three weeks, including a review of smart city projects in place, historical listings of city rankings, and those who participated in the US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge.


The index based its ranking against 21 data points across five categories including city demographics, city spend and infrastructure, business and economy, education, and other.

Data integrated into the model included transportation costs, infrastructure needs, population density and business needs.


According to Jim Nolan, EVP, Chordant, the impetus for the Index is to show cities the tangible benefits of smart city implementation, which by their nature highlight the intangible benefits such as citizen health and well-being. For Chordant, the benefits of sponsoring this Index is to kick-start a dialogue with cities to help them begin to strategise and plan for smart city initiatives.


Nolan says that there is a definite plan to extend the Benefit Index to other cities in the US and beyond into Europe.


While there are a number of key cities that have embraced smart city initiatives such as the West Coast (Silicon Valley area), Columbus and Austin, the US smart city movement is more fragmented and somehow harder for benefits to be seen. Nolan puts this down to size, breadth and diversity of US cities, and the independence of cities from a government perspective, as there is less of an integration from a regional and national level.


According to Compass Intelligence, the global Smart Cities market is expected to surpass $1.4 trillion by 2020, with smart governance and smart energy topping the categories of major investment.


An executive summary of the Benefit Index will be released in coming weeks, but final results and data model can be found at


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