More than half of the world population live in cities, and it is expected to increase by 1.5 times to 6 billion by 2045. In a 4IR context, cities will be one of the key drivers in the adoption, development, and preparation for the emerging technologies. And for the role they must play in the near future, the development of smart cities is essential to keep abreast of technological development. The race is on, so let’s take a look at the top technology trends shaping our smart cities to see where all major cities in the world are heading.
The striking characteristics of the times we live in, in term of cities, is the degree of interconnectedness and interdependence that exist now in the world. Major worldwide metropolis the likes of London, Berlin, Beijing, New York etc are following a trend started in Silicon Valley in the 80s, and are embracing this new technology driven reality. These ecosystems are mostly driven by high-performance data supercomputing, using various applications of machine learning, artificial intelligence, Blockchain tools and techniques, IoT, high-speed wireless connectivity, etc.
As author and expert Dinis Guarda said in a recent article about Smart Cities, "Smart Cities are the heart of the beating of the best in the world and in the interstice of all challenges, innovation and concerns. Special when it comes to organisation of society, citizens, innovation, technology and data, smart cities are the center of all operations and challenges and opportunities."
Smart cities are, thus, a thriving market and it is only thought to keep expanding as more cities embrace their potential. In fact, the smart cities market will be worth $833bn by 2030, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company. The company’s report, ‘Smart cities – Thematic Research’, reveals that by 2050, nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities compared to the current 50%. In addition, increased urbanization which is already causing infrastructure problems, will drive the creation of smart cities.
Listed below are the key technology trends in smart cities, as identified by GlobalData.
Smart cities increase the perceived risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. Over 40 US towns and cities suffered attacks in 2019, with Baltimore a notable casualty. It was attacked through ransomware, which shut down the majority of the city’s servers and some government applications.
The increasing connectedness within smart cities means that the impact of attacks could be devastating. Atlanta was attacked in 2018 and found putting things right to be expensive. The Securing Smart Cities initiative hopes to increase collaboration between cities, companies, governments, other not-for-profit initiatives and individuals around the world as a defense against cyberattacks.