Five key methods to make smart cities smarter


ABI Research has released a new whitepaper analysing the global smart cities market.

The whitepaper 5 Ways Smart Cities Are Getting Smarter reveals and discusses technologies and approaches helping smart cities to combat a growing list of challenges.

Existing challenges faced by smart cities include congestion, pollution and safety, whilst new threats such as cyberattacks, climate change and other emerging problems hinder efficiency in services provided by cities.

According to the whitepaper, investments in smart city technologies will reach over $61 billion globally in 2026.

The five key technologies and approaches which are expected to make smart cities smarter include:

  • Digital twins & urban modelling

Real-time modelling (digital twins of entire cities), and the automated, generative design of urban environments, both brownfield and greenfield. “Modeling cities and optimising operations through digital twins is great; designing them from scratch with Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools is better,” says Dominique Bonte, vice president of ABI Research.

Read more about smart cities here

  • Resilient cities

City officials need to migrate from a focus on “safe and secure cities” to resilient cities. This shift is where next-generation technologies and paradigms can be fully leveraged to help cities optimise evacuation emergency response procedures.  AI and deep learning capabilities can help cities to predict the occurrence of or avoid disasters.

  • Circular cities

“It is about turning entire cities into circular entities, eliminating their “outside of the city” footprints entirely by achieving large degrees of self-support and self-sufficiency in areas like energy generation,” says Bonte. Sharing, recycling, repairing, refurbishing, and repurposing materials, assets, and natural resources are guiding principles of circular economies. “This represents the endgame for smart cities.”

Smart cities is a hot topic set for discussion at this year’s European Utility Week and POWERGEN EUROPE conference. Click here to register to attend or more information about the event.

  • Micro-mobility

With mass market uptake of both driverless vehicles and consumer-owned EVs not expected any time soon, cities are embracing electric, two-wheel, micro-mobility to reduce congestion and provide cleaner mobility to address rampant air pollution.

  • Smart spaces.

“In fact, it is an illusion to believe that adding just a shallow layer of IoT technology to legacy urban environments will allow cities to address the urban challenges of the future, ranging from the provision of sustainable energy to the adoption of smart mobility and the construction of resilient cities.

“Bolder, more holistic, cross-vertical, and closed-loop approaches are required to optimize and maximise the potential of available resources and services. This can only be done by leveraging a range of very advanced technologies including, urban modelling and digital twins, AI and automation, demand-response software, edge/cloud platforms, and generative design,” Bonte concludes.

The whitepaper is available for free download here