One of the defining characteristics of smart cities is connectivity, with sensors installed across public infrastructure. This helps the city make best use of resources and cater to the needs of citizens.
A new report by research firm Gartner says that smart cities will use as many as 1.1 billion connected things this year, with the number rising to 9.7 billion by 2020.
Connectivity will be seen in sectors ranging from transport and utilities to healthcare and public services, but smart homes and smart commercial buildings will be among the biggest applications, representing 45% of all connected things in use in this year. By 2020, Gartner estimates that this will rise to 81%.
With residential installations growing for smart LED lighting, healthcare monitoring, smart locks and various sensors for such things as motion detection or carbon monoxide, the number of connected things used in smart homes is anticipated to surpass 1 billion units in 2017 – up from 294 million in 2015.
Homes will move from being interconnected to become information- and smart-enabled, with an integrated services environment that not only provides value to the home, but also creates individual-driven ambience. The home will become the personal space that provides assistance or personal concierge experiences to the individual, commented Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner.
In fact, despite city authorities coming under growing pressure to use Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Tratz-Ryan believes that the majority of IoT spending for smart cities will come from the private sector. And she said that this is good news for technology and services providers, because the private sector tends to have shorter procurement cycles than public sectors and cities.
Tratz-Ryan urged technology companies to plan, engage and position their offerings now, otherwise they run the risk of missing out on significant revenue opportunities.