#Davos19: It’s all about the smart city


This year’s World Economic Forum has delivered on all things smart and future focused with the theme Globalisation 4.0.

It’s all about understanding how interconnectedness will impact our society, culture and economy, as well as predicting the pace, scale and direction of change.

Of all the disruptive trends being discussed, here are the top four that will continue to disrupt the utility industry this year:

Smart cities and energy infrastructure

By 2025, 85% of the US population will live in cities and urbanisation will continue to accelerate worldwide. Rapid urbanisation brings excessive consumption of finite resources, congestion, and operational inefficiencies that can be better managed with smart waste management, route optimisation software, intelligent public transport systems, wireless networks, and connected energy-efficient lights.

A 20% reduction in commercial energy usage in the US alone can save $80 billion annually on energy bills.

Investments in electricity generation, grid automation and integration, and advanced lithium-ion battery technology will lead to positive spillover effects in adjacent industries, including electric vehicles, smart cities, and manufacturing. Ultimately, the smart city could be the locus of a broader global industrial boom.


Besides looking to autonomous driving to alleviate inefficiency and reduce transportation costs, we will see electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles grow to more than 30% by 2030, reducing pollution and global warming.

The nascent and converging factors of autonomous driving, electric vehicles, and personal short-distance aviation are critical to the development of smart cities and will shape the way that people move within and between the cities of the future.

5G and advanced networks

“Fifth Generation Wireless,” or 5G, is a new standard for wireless technology that will dramatically improve network speeds while allowing more devices to connect at once. Technologies such as autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and remote surgery will benefit from 5G’s decreased latency and higher bandwidth.


As digital infrastructure infiltrates all aspects of life cyber-criminals have more to gain than ever before. Companies across all industries have unprecedented access to personal data and information and there is more value stored in digital assets than ever before.

Furthermore, as IT services migrate to the cloud and artificial intelligence and machine learning become more standard, a new security paradigm comes into play, with massive potential to disrupt mission critical infrastructure, such as the national grid.

Insights sourced from CNBC.