Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, and IDC Government Insights analysts Alison Brooks and Mukesh Chulani, released a presentation today that looks at the potential state of play for smart cities heading into the new year. Late last year, IBM released a similar group of predictions – their five in five for how technology will effect modern life over the next five years.
IDC says smart cities are at an inflection point and will need to focus on mission-driven technology solutions. The presentation authors expect to see 2014 be the year where larger projects start to take off. As those projects move down the runway, there will be subsequent high-profile successes and failures.
More than ever before, mashups of many technologies centered on a core mission will drive smart cities efforts. Instead of simply adding sensor networks to the grid, the grid will also be connected to other infrastructure. As CivSource has previously reported, this interconnectedness is sometimes called the Internet of Things. Cisco has defined this as a multi-trillion dollar market opportunity over the near term. Funding for these projects is likely to remain focused on areas such as energy, transportation, and public safety. In 2013, this accounted for 70% of smart cities spending.
For 2014, IDC predicts that 15% of smart cities will move up the implementation framework to the opportunistic stage, exhibiting characteristics such as stakeholder buy-in for projects and a move toward more consequential projects overall.
Feeding into the conversation around the Internet of Things, mobile will be a big driver for smart cities growth. IDC’s New Media Market Model forecasts by 2017, 3.5 billion people, (46% of the world’s population) will be connected to the Internet via their mobile phones.
Innovation around 311 services will continue to grow. These systems will shift more to the cloud, and include new analytics layers. Pittsburgh, PA is one example of a city focused on upgrading their own 311 system as they move to a data driven policy. Beyond individual use cases, big data, open data, and analytics will continue to drive policy decisions and smart cities spending. More city and state functions will take place on the cloud, driving datacenter consolidation and realizing cost efficiencies.
“This is going to be a big year for Smart Cities. Cities will move more quickly from research and evaluation to investment in pilots and the organizational structures to support Smart City initiatives,” said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, Research Director, IDC Government Insights Smart Cities Strategies. “We predict that in 2014 there will be a lot of partnership activity as vendors define their Smart City offerings and strive to gain customer mindshare.”