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Research firm claims ‘smart city’ technologies could save governments $5 trillion by 2022

A research firm has claimed that 'smart city' technologies could save governments, enterprises and citizens globally over $5 trillion annually by 2022. The claims were made by US firm ABI Research following their publication of a whitepaper which examined the impact of cities deploying 'smart' technology in major cities across the world.

The paper presented a compelling argument for how the cost savings and efficiency that would be generated by the introduction of smart city technologies should serve as a driver for governments and enterprises to propel the deployment of smart technologies and the Internet of Things in cities.

The whitepaper report entitled 'Smart Cities and Cost Savings' declared that the implementation of the Internet of Things and smart technologies will be critical in the future success and development of smart cities. However, it warned that it would only be a success if a coherent ecosystem was created and major players collaborated to embrace a holistic approach to the smart city movement.

More and more people are living in cities and that number is expected to rise exponentially as a result of urbanization. This cutting-edge IoT and smart city technology along with new sharing and service economy paradigms are seen as pivotal for cities to optimize the use of existing assets. In addition to this, automation, artificial intelligence, along with sensors, data-sharing and analytics, will all be critical in helping cities save costs.

The report which was commissioned by Inter-Digital in partnership with CA Technologies was compiled on behalf of Inter-Digital's smart cities focused business CHORDANT. This is based on the yearly savings achievable for 75 of the world's cities that have a total urban population of more than 5 million, according to World Atlas. Key cost-savings from the ABI Research report highlight that in each such typical smart mega city of the future:

  • Governments: Could save as much as $4.95 billion annually. Street lighting and smart buildings are two areas that could yield savings, with smart street lights expected to cut repair and maintenance costs by 30 per cent
  • Enterprises: A $14 billion cost-saving opportunity exists for enterprises, in areas that include freight transportation by using more energy efficient transport options, such as drones, robots or driverless vans and trucks, and smart manufacturing plants
  • Citizens: Savings of up to $26.69 billion per year could be achieved in areas such as utilities, through the deployment of smart meters and micro-grids, and in education with the development of a hybrid education system (physical and online).

VP, Markets at ABI Research, Dominique Bonte said that the sizable costs saved by the implementation of smart city technologies meant it was imperative to accelerate deployment, and claimed it should serve as a key driver for governments to promote new projects and projects based around the IoT.

She said, "While smart cities technologies offer multiple benefits, very significant direct cost savings represent a key incentive to embrace urban innovation for city governments, citizens and enterprises alike; this allows building stronger business cases with faster ROI, facilitating project approval and accelerating deployments."

"Smart cities are built upon the Internet of Things allowing citizens to reimagine how they work, live and play," said Rahim Bhatia, general manager, API Management, CA Technologies. "We're excited to see quantifiable outcomes being delivered across today's local governments, with application programming interfaces (APIs) playing a fundamental role in seamlessly connecting the critical infrastructure that makes smart cities a reality.

"If managed effectively, APIs deliver a number of benefits including the secure exposure and reuse of open data, acceleration of app development velocity, and the expansion of city partner ecosystems, to help maximize ROI and improve decision making across all corners of the new smart city."