Non-standardised IoT deployments in smart cities could waste billions, study finds

A new report calls for a standards-based approach to Internet of Things (IoT) technology deployments in smart cities, claiming that city authorities could squander billions of pounds over the next decade if they adopt a fragmented approach.

The study by Machina Research, which was commissioned by mobile technology and research firm InterDigital, found that the cost of implementing smart city technology using non-standardised IoT solutions could reach $1.12tn (£775bn) by 2025.

In contrast, adopting standardised solutions would cost an estimated $781bn (£540bn) — 30% less than the non-standardised total and a saving of $341bn (£235bn) worldwide by 2025.

Cost savings with a standardised approach would result from interoperability, freedom from vendor lock-in, and reduced systems integration costs, InterDigital said.

“The world of IoT is currently characterised by competing technologies and platforms, further complicated by numerous standards development organisations, and this fragmentation is causing a delay in the widespread adoption of IoT,” commented Jim Nolan, executive vice president of IoT Solutions at InterDigital. “We can’t hope to realise any smart city ambitions until all stakeholders can agree on a common set of IoT standards. Machina Research’s analysis proves the extremely valuable business case for an open standards-based approach to IoT.”

InterDigital also highlighted further benefits associated with a standards-based approach to IoT — benefits which are not purely financial.

The Machina Research study indicates that, by 2025, a standards-based IoT environment could mean a 27% increase in the number of connected devices within smart cities, and could improve the speed and extent of adoption of smart city applications.

The introduction of standards-based IoT solutions would create simpler processes for building new applications and allow schemes to be more easily replicated. Inherent interoperability would also make data monetisation easier.

“Ultimately, standards-based IoT solutions will make smart cities more attractive, provide opportunities for application developers, and accelerate technology innovation,” InterDigital concluded.

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