Around 2008, global civilisation reached three historic thresholds, which set up a clear path for smart cities to become reality rather than just a buzzword.
1. Unprecedented Urban Population Growth
For the first time in history, the urban population caught up with the rural population of the world. One hundred years ago, only 200 million people lived in cities, approximately 1/8 of the world’s population at the time. Today, just over a century later, more than 3.5 billion call a city a home, tipping the balance in favor of cities.
By the end of 2015, the United Nations forecasts that the urban population will expand to nearly 6.5 billion. In 2100, global population could top 10 billion, whereupon cities could accommodate as many as 8 billion people. Throughout history, there has been a strong correlation between the growth of cities and technology adoption. Especially at times when cities reached a critical mass such that technology solutions were called upon to fix a dire need (telegraph, garbage disposal, ventilation, sewage, etc).
2. Mobile Broadband
For the first time, mobile broadband subscriptions exceeded fixed broadband subscriptions globally. Smartphones are not just becoming cheaper and ubiquitous, but they also lie at the technical crux of the Internet of Things. Now they are acting as a central command and control to just about everything.
3. IT-Spend to Shift from Corporations to Governments
The Opportunity for Startups
Sizing the Global Smart City Opportunity, a Rough Estimate
According to BCG, the global need of infrastructure investments and expected maintenance costs for all of the bridges, roads, power plants, water mains, and sewers will be an estimated $60 – $75 trillion over the next ten years (ending in 2030) worldwide.
Minded by the fact that the bulk of this enormous sum will only pay for the basic city ware of asphalt and steel, if a small fraction goes to chips, glass fibers, and software, it will be a windfall for startups in the technology industry. Songdo’s intelligent infrastructure – equipping / instrumenting traditional infrastructure (pipes, roads, street lights) with smart devices (chips, sensors, digital networks, software) – added only 2.9 percent to the project’s construction budget.
Scaling the ratio of smart devices to traditional infrastructure costs globally yields us $800 billion over the next decade alone. That sum spans a big spectrum, including but not limited to:
● installing municipal wireless networks
● implementing e-government initiatives by providing access to city departments and initiatives through websites
● integrating public transportation with intelligent transportation systems
● developing ways to cut carbon footprints and reduce the amount of recyclables consigned to the trash heap
To get a bird’s eye view on smart city indices and municipal / city governments’ strategies, Roland Berger’s report is among the most comprehensive out there.
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Take a look at our website to learn more about our program requirements and contact us if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), as well as the State of Berlin.