ABI Research’s analysts have identified 35 trends that will shape the technology market and lead to cities developing advanced urban strategies over the next 12 months.
In 2020, the concepts of digital twins, urban modelling, resilience, circularity, smart urban spaces, and electric micro-mobility and micro-transit will define the character of smart cities of the future, a new study finds.
In its new whitepaper, 54 Technology Trends to Watch in 2020, ABI Research’s analysts have identified 35 trends that will shape the technology market over the next 12 months. The report also reveals 19 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, look less likely to move the needle over the next 12 months.
According to the tech market advisory firm, these key market trends will be integrated into a “comprehensive urban agenda and strategy” that will define the character of smart cities of the future.
Already in 2019, cities have developed deeper insights into high-priority challenges and approaches to address them, ABI notes. Many have started to develop a narrative centred around five holistic focus areas: digital twins and urban modelling; resilience; circularity; electric micro-mobility and micro-transit; and smart urban spaces.
“In 2020, these concepts will be further galvanised and integrated into a comprehensive urban agenda and strategy, very much defining the character of smart cities of the future. But they also help address short-term challenges,” said Dominique Bonte, smart cities and smart spaces vice president at ABI Research.
“The adoption of micro-mobility in the form of electric bike, scooter, and motorcycle sharing significantly reduces both air pollution and traffic congestion – arguably the two biggest issues cities are grappling with today.”
This represents a short-term solution ahead of widespread adoption of electric driverless vehicle sharing by 2030. It does, however, prompt city governments to reorganise public space to accommodate these new smart mobility modes, the report cautions.
“These concepts will be further galvanised and integrated into a comprehensive urban agenda and strategy, very much defining the character of smart cities of the future.”
The report finds that wider safety and sustainability questions are starting to be approached in a more structural and fundamental way, respectively focused on resilience (readiness and responsiveness) and an approach based on circular economy concepts (resource self-sufficiency and recycling maximisation).
“Finally, the digital twin and wider urban modelling concepts will provide a fertile environment for the mass adoption of basic IoT connectivity technologies, informing and enhancing static 3D models to become real-time replicas of the cities’ physical assets, in turn, enabling further efficiency and resource utilisation improvements, scenario analysis, generative design, and preventive and real-time maintenance,” adds Bonte.
The report also indicates that against a background of a continuing challenging economic climate, cities will put more emphasis on ROI or, at the very least, will want to optimise where their investments are going.
This will require vendors to provide detailed information on what their solutions can achieve in terms of cost-savings and tangible benefits for citizens and enterprises alike through both general awareness building and quantitative tools.
More concretely, vendors will have to tailor their business models toward CapEx-free “as-a-service” offers, while at the same time providing financing support, either directly through their own financing or venture capital divisions or indirectly, helping discover new funding mechanisms and opportunities.
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