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Smart city market is fastest growing segment of government

We all want the same things in life. cheaper electricity, safer transportation, a faster Internet and safe streets. And perhaps, because of climate change and the search for alternative energy sources other than fossil fuels, a small spark was set off that has grown into a technological revolution, sparking smart city research and development projects and creative innovations.

The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, data analytics platforms, and cloud computing has not only been a shot in the arm for tech companies but for business contractors, city planning departments architects and engineers. All these different entities and more are impacted in the creation of a smart city.
READ MORE: London’s ‘smart street’ uses new technologies and data science
In A BCC Research market report on Smart Cities: Growing New IT Markets, released last month, cited the global smart cities market for information and communications technologies reached $342.4 billion in 2016 and should reach $774.8 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.7 percent from 2016 to 2021.

America's deteriorating infrastructure costs each American family an estimated $3 400 per year

America's deteriorating infrastructure costs each American family an estimated $3,400 per year

The whole point of this bit of news is that smart cities have grown from about two dozen or so just a few short years ago to over 100 globally. And there is more – At least 600 additional cities are expected to become “smart cities” within the next few years.

“This is a large and growing market. There are currently around 100 smart city projects, and we think in a short period of time that will expand to roughly 10-13% of medium to large cities. We see about 5,000 cities of that size and 600 will go to smart city technology in the fairly near term,” said Michael Sullivan, BCC analyst and author of the report, according to Tech Republic.
READ MORE: Op-Ed: New York wins smart city award for 2016
Reasons behind the transition to smart city tech
First, a medium city has a population of more than 150,000 people while a large city has a population of over 500,000 people. Cities with populations of over 150,000 people more often than not have aging infrastructure, including underground water, sewer, and electrical systems. Roads, bridges, and other thoroughfares are in need of repair or replacement, while safety and security have now become big issues because of conflict and terrorism.

Additionally, our warming world has awakened city officials and planners to the impacts of climate change, such as the increase in abnormally hot days, urban flooding due to increasingly intense storms and rainfall, as well as finding solutions to mitigate the “heat island” effects of tall buildings and pavement.

The July 19  2015 collapse of an Interstate 10 bridge in Riverside County  Calif. due to heavy rains...

The July 19, 2015 collapse of an Interstate 10 bridge in Riverside County, Calif. due to heavy rains is prompting questions among experts about weaknesses in transportation infrastructure and its capacity to withstand increasingly extreme weather events. (There were no fatalities).
Quartzsite Fire and Rescue

“If anything, there is a bit of a maelstrom around the environmental issues right now. It was beginning to lag and along came Trump and he reinvigorated the market in spite of, or to spite the government because there are Herculean stakes,” Sullivan said.

All the above issues have led to a coming-together of information and communications technology, especially in the fields of advanced connectivity and analytics software and hardware. This includes IoT sensors and analytics platforms to coordinate information within departments and across city agencies.
READ MORE: Chicago introducing smart city technology
Key findings from BCC report
The global market for smart city tech will continue to be dominant in North America, with the investment rate rising from $118.5 billion in 2016 to $244.5 billion in 2021. Technology, advanced investment, and excellent organizational models, led by cities that include New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago in the U.S., and Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary in Canada are the drivers behind investments.

Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are continuing to gain momentum, with regional and local governments pushing smart city technology. In the Asia-Pacific, investments in short-term funding, at about $91 billion in 2016, helped to boost the market. As for Europe, a brightening economic climate, along with major investments in energy management will drive the tech market growth rate, which is expected to surpass the Asia-Pacific region.

Safety has become an unusual driver for smart city tech
When it comes to the safety of people living and working in a city, safety is of prime importance. This requires the use of Video surveillance, gunshot detection technology, body cameras on police officers, and using big data to send emergency responders to the scene faster.

London's Metropolitan Police is currently providing over 22 000 officers with Body Worn Video (...

London's Metropolitan Police is currently providing over 22,000 officers with Body Worn Video (BWV), to help “gather evidence and demonstrate their professionalism”

“The safe city concept is unifying a lot of these initiatives,” Sullivan said. “We see really arming the first responders with more data so that they can have a lot more information when they get to the scene. It compresses the amount of time it takes to respond and have the right treatment for what’s going on in the environment. They’re cutting out the time delay and time lag to get to these events.”

READ MORE: Dallas robot bomb highlights shift in police technology
And with terrorism becoming an international threat, as well as the threats posed by local and national groups, such as the Neo-Nazi party and other extremist groups we have in the U.S., smart city tech will again be useful to first responders. “The technology is maturing at the same time the need is increasing,” Sullivan said.

As PBC Today points out, it will take more than just the technology communication sector to create the smart city of tomorrow. It is a collaborative effort involving many sectors, from the construction industry to architects, designers and more.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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