Tech blending for utility operations driving global smart cities market


The integration of technologies and business operations to optimise the utility operations is driving the growth of the global smart cities market, according to a new study released by Research and Markets.

The report states that the global smart cities market will exceed $2.5 trillion by 2026 owing to the digital transformation of the utility, transportation and public safety sectors.

However, the report states the majority of the opportunities within the smart cities market will be harvested by the utility sector as energy and water management is increasingly becoming critical.

With up to 71% of the world’s total population expected to be urban dwellers by 2050, city planners will be faced with challenges to ensure the adequacy of resources and infrastructure to meet demands from the growing population, according to the study.

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For instance, an increase in the urban population will also drive an increase in energy and water demand. To avoid power outages and to address water scarcity, utilities need to employ innovative solutions to optimise consumer water conservation and energy efficiency.

The report notes that advanced technologies are being deployed to address energy distribution, energy management, transportation management, and public safety. However, the solutions are not enough or as well matured as they need to be to meet pressing challenges.

“An important focus area for smart cities is technology infrastructure to enable smart utilities, smarter buildings, and workplaces. Systems and resources are intertwined as mobility, communications, energy, water, platforms, monitoring/control, performance management, predictability, and forecasting all merge together. We see great synergy coming in public and corporate collaboration, but it will take up to twenty years to fully develop,” says Research and Markets.

Technology blending is already underway and is evidenced by the entrance of utilities in the smart home sector through demand response (DR) mechanisms. DR enables energy companies to take control of the energy usage of consumer home appliances in line with the status of energy generation and energy demand, and leverage energy flexibility to ensure grid reliability.

“Major initiatives are beginning to make a substantial positive impact as critical milestones are achieved. This includes network and system interoperability, security and privacy controls, and technology integration,” adds Research and Markets. For instance, utilities are partnering with automakers and electric vehicle (EV) charging technology companies to simplify the switch to smart transportation.

In June this year, the UK’s Data Communications Company and cybersecurity tech firm Toshiba started testing the use of the country’s smart meter communications network to manage a network of EV chargers.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • North America is the largest region with 31.9% of the total smart cities market.
  • The infrastructure segment is the largest technology area with 65.6% of the total market.
  • Competition between cities to attract skilled residents, corporations, and related jobs will drive rollouts of smart city technologies.
  • Technological innovation including AI, IoT, connected devices, broadband wireless, edge computing, and big data analytics will drive the development of smart cities.
  • Optimising systems and services for the smart cities market will be an ongoing process.

Find out more about the report.