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The future of smart city platforms

Cisco, Verizon, InterDigital, Bosch, and IBM lead the way in terms support and commitment to public urban technology deployments

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ABI: no single platform will be able to offer "all features for all verticals in a smart city"
ABI: no single platform will be able to offer "all features for all verticals in a smart city"

City governments are increasingly opting for vendor-agnostic standardised and/or open source platforms to enable holistic smart city solutions and manage dynamic technology lifecycles, new research indicates.

 

In what market-foresight advisory firm ABI Research describes as a “very crowded” Internet of Things (IoT) platform ecosystem, multiple vendors are targeting the smart cities vertical with optimised and dedicated solutions and vying for dominance, it reports.

 

The Smart City Platforms and Standards study finds that Cisco, Verizon, InterDigital, Bosch, and IBM are leading the way in terms support and commitment to public urban technology deployments.

 

While established players like Cisco and Verizon excel in the width and depth of functionality offered across the value chain and vertical segments, according to the report others, like IBM and Bosch, are embracing next-generation technologies like AI, blockchain, and sensor data crowdsourcing.

 

This is to “enable a new urban economy” based on sharing, service, and cognitive business models for smart city services like community-based parking, automated surveillance cams, and blockchain-enabled freight tracking.

 

“But this is not the whole story. To really enable holistic smart city solutions and manage dynamic technology lifecycles, city governments increasingly rely on vendor-agnostic standardised and/or open source platforms,” said Dominique Bonte, vice president end markets at ABI Research.

 

“InterDigital’s Chordant’s adherence to the oneM2M standard and FIWARE’s open source API approach offer the promise of flexible, pay as you grow, future-proof solutions enabling yet unknown applications and services. Standardisation organisations like ETSI are also actively preparing smart city data and platform standards.”

 

However, many generic, horizontal IoT platforms offered by carriers, network infrastructure vendors, and other suppliers are also targeted at the smart cities vertical but often lack specific functionality required by the public sector.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, city platforms built around specific verticals such as energy, buildings, utilities, or transportation are offered by players like Itron, Siemens, Schneider Electric, GE, and Hitachi. These players are typically focused on OT rather than IT.

 

Finally, product or technology specific smart city platforms include solutions built around cloud technology (Amazon-AWS, IBM, Microsoft), IT (SAP, NEC, HPE), AI surveillance (NVIDIA), connectivity modules (Telit), cellular connectivity (carriers), and smart lighting (Philips).

 

But the study cautions, that ultimately, no single platform will be able to offer all features for all verticals in a smart city environment characterised by a “platform of platforms” approach, with open, interoperable platforms interacting with and complementing each other in a “system of systems” constellation and open ecosystem.

 

If you like this, you might be interested in reading the following:

 

Smart cities report forecasts trillions in economic growth

Open data platforms, connectivity and analytics set to be key drivers

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Could smart cities save government, people and companies $5trillion annually?

A new whitepaper by ABI Research analyses the scope for cost-savings and efficiency as a driver for smart city deployments, smart technologies and the IoT

Read more

 

Platform aims to strike a smart chord for cities

InterDigital has launched Chordant, a smart city-focused business that can bring legacy and future assets together in one platform

Read more

 

 

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