Smart cities can help businesses create big opportunities for the future. Source: Shutterstock

Smart cities can help businesses create big opportunities for the future. Source: Shutterstock

Why smart cities are a $2.5t opportunity for businesses

GLOBALLY, the smart cities market is expected to reach US$2.5 trillion by 2025.

Although the concept of smart cities has been around for quite a while, municipal organizations and government agencies are only now beginning to mobilize budgets and make relevant investments.

In Australia, for example, the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure, and Population Alan Tudge recently made news for funding a series of smart city initiatives leveraging more than 100 IoT-powered sensors to make public spaces safer.

According to PwC, by 2022, smart city solutions will make up 69 percent of the market while smart city services will make up 31 percent of it. Further, of the services segment, 63 percent will go to professional services while 37 percent will go to integration and deployment.

Obviously, this means that businesses, especially those that can tap into the sensors that government agencies and municipal organizations to provide security, entertainment, utility, and other support services and solutions stand to gain significantly.

Here are three big business opportunities for organizations looking to gain from the rise of smart cities:

# 1 | Real-time analytics

Governments will collect plenty of data going forward. This may or may not be personally identifiable data, but it will provide intelligent insights from a variety of perspectives.

Companies that can create use cases to access that data and create meaningful analysis to support how citizens are served and supported stand to gain a lot in terms of long-term business.

# 2 | Safety and security

Australia is already using sensors in smart cities to keep parks and public spaces safe. Businesses that are able to provide similar services stand to gain tremendously as a result of such security arrangements.

Further, businesses could also offer to services that support specific use cases around safety — for example, sensor-based care for elders in certain parts of the city could be quite a valuable service especially in countries such as Singapore and Japan where the bulk of the population is aging quickly.

# 3 | Convenience

Sensors can create a lot of convenience in cities. Temperature and pressure sensors could be used by mobility companies to provide comfortable rides, by restaurants to provide better ambiances, and by care facilities to create more natural environments.

Further, companies that leverage data from sensors could help governments better manage the city by regulating traffic differently (during peak hours) and applying predictive maintenance to roads and other public facilities.