Itron on 2020: Easier funding, higher priority, better data integration for smarter cities
Itai Dadon, director of smart cities and IoT, Itron:
1. The finance industry takes an interest
“Cities continue to grow at a fast pace; at the same time, they are learning fast and their strategy around digital transformation is maturing, which is generating a lot of interest in smart city programs.
“In 2020, we will see financial institutions begin to allocate more funds to finance cities in order to put smart city programs in place. Those funds will become available in multiple frameworks such as PPP (public-private partnerships) or private bonds.
“We will also see the rise of ‘green’ investments directly driven towards carbon emission reductions in cities around the world.”
2. Data fusion for smarter decisions
“We’ve seen this in a limited way in 2019 but it’s just the beginning. For example, Stockholm is looking at leveraging weather data to adjust its streetlight intensity so lights dim when it’s snowing to soften the brightness of the lights’ reflection off of it.
“In 2020, we could see sensors for air quality, noise and traffic monitoring deployed in combination with smart parking solutions to understand how to not only improve the experience for parking, but also to help cities reduce the amount of traffic, improve the air quality and reduce the ambient noise in the streets.
“By fusing the data from those sensors together, cities will have correlations to drive smarter actions based on data.”
3. Rising security and privacy concerns
“Awareness around the importance of protecting our communities from cyber security and privacy risks is constantly growing. In 2020, there will be an increase in cyber security and privacy requirements from cities related to the use of smart city technologies.
“For example, how to use video or image based sensors in a way that balances the application of these technologies and without infringing on privacy. This will increase the demand for standards that have been designed with tighter security, edge computing and the use of intelligence at the edge.”
4. Loftier decarbonization objectives
“Mayoral declarations to decarbonize was a major theme in 2018 and 2019 that will continue significantly in 2020. As more mayors set decarbonization objectives, it will create a larger movement in how cities think about the priorities of the smart city applications they need to deploy.
“The smart city tech market is predicted to grow to $263 billion by 2028, according to Navigant Research, and we expect the market will accelerate significantly in the coming five years. Key drivers behind this growth will be connected to solutions that can create a more just and equitable society and those that can help bridge the digital divide.”