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The top 10 smart city suppliers

Cisco has beaten IBM for the first time to the top spot in Navigant Research’s poll of the top smart city suppliers. IBM, which has ranked in first position in each of the consultancy group’s previous assessments of suppliers in the smart city market, is only rated fourth, behind Siemens and Microsoft as well.

Siemens climbs two places to second and Microsoft maintains its third position. Hitachi, Huawei, SAP and Panasonic also hold their positions from Navigant’s 2016 review, behind the four top-ranking suppliers. Ericsson and GE round out the 2017 leaderboard. Oracle drops out of the top 10 altogether.

Navigant reckons the global market for smart city solutions and services will grow from $40.1 billion in 2017 to $94.2 billion by 2026. Its review of smart city suppliers examines the strategy and execution of 16 firms with the capacity to deliver large-scale smart city projects, and rates them according to 10 criteria, including their vision, geographic reach, partner programme, product performance and features, product integration, and go-to-market strategy.

NEC and Bosch are the only new entrants in Navigant’s extended list of the 16 leading smart city suppliers, appearing at 12 and 16 in the list respectively. Nokia, notably, does not even register in the long list, despite the appearance of Huawei and Ericsson, its traditional rivals in the traditional telecoms market.

Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Research, says Cisco and Siemens, the top-ranking suppliers in the assessment, have distinguished themselves with their continuing drive to define and develop expansive use cases, as well as with their focus on technical solutions and open partnerships.

“They continue to develop iconic projects and push on thought leadership, but they are coming at it from a different angle as well,” says Woods. “They are looking to understand more deeply what cities require, and what they will require in the future, and are working with a broad ecosystem of partners to shape the market.”

Meanwhile, IBM, the top-ranked supplier in the past three Navigant polls, has switched its strategic focus towards its cognitive computing business, suggests Woods. “It is still doing lots of interesting stuff arpind smart cities within its individual business units, but in terms of shaping the broader smart city vision, it has ceded ground to Cisco and Siemens, and Microsoft as well.”

But large technology providers remain inconsistent in their technical approaches, reflecting both the general immaturity of the market and the complexity and challenges of city operations. “The only consensus is that this is a critical issue,” says Woods.

“At the same time, the market is closer to understanding what those integrated smart city platforms might look like, and how they might be implemented. But consensus around their technical architecture is a way off. That is what cities and suppliers are engaged in now.”

The pursuit of fully integrated smart city solutions, which go beyond narrow use cases such as smart car parking or smart street lighting, is explored in depth in a new Enterprise IoT Insights editorial report and webinar, ‘The building blocks of a smart city’, which considers the efforts of smart city suppliers in Guadalajara in Mexico, Barcelona in Spain, San Diego in the U.S. and Manchester in the U.K.

In Manchester, Cisco, the leading smart city supplier according to Navigant, is in the process of launching a fully integrated smart city platform, under the CityVerve moniker. Woods says projects like CityVerve usher in a new phase of smart city development.

“We will start to see the real-world application of these more integrated perspectives and platforms in cities, which have a demonstrable impact on city operations, and can be deployed at scaled to really start to shape the future of cities.”


  1. Cisco
  2. Siemens
  3. Microsoft
  4. IBM
  5. Hitachi
  6. Huawei
  7. SAP
  8. Panasonic
  9. Ericsson
  10. GE

For more on the continued adoption of smart city solutions, check out this recent report and webinar.

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