As the world becomes urbanised, the resulting stress on virtually all global systems may only be solved by the concept of smart cities.
A new report by GBI Research argues that, while it is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge to maintain necessary supplies of water, energy, food, communication and transport to meet growing demands in urban centres, a complete replacement of old and established city infrastructures would be unrealistic in terms of cost and time.
However, digitalising the existing infrastructure would allow it to collect and analyse data in order to respond intelligently to all domestic needs, allowing cities to grow without fear of their infrastructure overloading.
The smart cities market includes smart homes, smart buildings, smart grid, smart industry automation, smart healthcare, smart education, smart transportation and smart security.
Many countries are witnessing their cities expanding at an extraordinary rate, with China’s urbanisation rate reaching 52,57% in 2012, and there is a growing need to apply smart city concepts to such bustling urban centres in order for them to cope with the massive population increases.
Test beds for various smart grid and smart city technologies are present around the world, with projects such as the smart grid smart city project in Australia, the Jeju Island smart grid project in Korea, Amsterdam Smart City Project in Netherlands and Energy Smart Miami in the US helping to develop a state-of-art and competitive urban infrastructure.
The target-specific roll-out plans, attractive incentives and funding arrangements from governments are helping utilities to implement their smart city projects.
The global smart cities market was worth $442-billion in 2011, and is expected to reach a value of $1,026-trillion by 2017, following a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%.