This IDC FutureScape provides the top 10 predictions that will impact stakeholders in the urban ecosystem as regional and local government agencies look to modernize and transform IT systems, operational systems, and business processes. These predictions are designed to provide the strategic context to enable government leaders — from mayors and city managers to council members, CIOs, and innovation officers — to transform their organizations through the application of technology to real business challenges. This document encapsulates the IDC Smart Cities and Communities team’s collective understanding of major urban transitions and their impact on municipalities, counties, states, and regional organizations.
This document is designed to provide a springboard for thinking about the future within the context of a structured set of predictions tied to current and future budget cycles. In past years, the focus was on understanding the opportunities provided by Smart City solutions and the issues around the testing and deployment of pilots or projects limited in scope. This prompted important discussions in the past year around governance, data ownership and management, security, and new procurement models; process changes as a result of having new and real-time data; and how to train and support staff to adopt new routines and attitudes. In addition, cities were grappling with technology considerations around Smart City platforms and how Smart Cities and Communities can move into the platform era without compromising on their need for open IT and co-experimentation. This year, there is more discussion on the strategic scaling of initiatives, with a focus on the following:
- Growth management: In many cases, the issues surrounding Smart Cities and Communities are related to population growth or decline. For those cities dealing with population growth, Smart City technologies are a way to deal with rising pollution, crime, traffic, energy needs, and other infrastructure issues. Cities with declining populations are using Smart Cities with a focus on economic development and as a way to market themselves as modern and innovative. All cities focused on Smart City innovations are leveraging them to make their city more fun and an interesting place to live and work.
- Scaling projects: Now that cities have tested pilots, often in specific neighborhoods or for specific users, the question is, how do these initiatives scale across an entire city? Part of this rests on funding projects and how to reallocate budget to new projects. While foundations, central government grants, and private investment have spurred pilots, how to make solutions financially sustainable over the long term is a challenge. Scaling projects also often bumps against network and connectivity infrastructure gaps and how to develop the needed communications infrastructure across an entire city that Smart City projects require.
- Managing risk: There are numerous risks to consider with Smart City projects such as security risks from new edge devices, privacy risks from data analytics,, and innovation risk with developing and testing new ideas and solutions. Cities need to think about their risk portfolio and project interdependencies. While innovation risk may be lowered by getting outside expertise and following Agile development and design cycles, security and privacy risks have more to do with outdated systems and untrained staff. All aspects of risk must be considered to manage it effectively.
The 2019 IDC Smart City and Communities predictions are as follows and arranged in order of time to adopt:
- Prediction 1: In 2019, the security weaknesses of legacy systems will hinder the adoption of new technologies in one-third of cities with the connection between new and old systems posing a major security risk.
- Prediction 2: By 2019, 25% of tier 1 and tier 2 cities will have open data sharing platforms that enable service improvements, private sector innovation, and transparency.
- Prediction 3: By 2020, more than 30% of highly innovative Smart City projects will be tested in small cities of fewer than 200,000 inhabitants.
- Prediction 4: To prevent AI-related privacy and ethical crises, 40% of governments will develop and deploy policies to prevent algorithmic bias and unethical data use by 2021.
- Prediction 5: By 2021, 20% of major cities will have begun implementations to support automated vehicles, leading to increased live AV pilots, faster transit innovations, and improved road safety.
- Prediction 6: By 2021, 75% of major metropolitan areas will have a consolidated, proactive early warning emergency system that integrates information to coordinate all phases of disaster response.
- Prediction 7: Investment in Smart City use cases will reach $158 billion by 2022, with the fastest overall growth in the Americas and the most spending on fixed visual surveillance and public transit.
- Prediction 8: By 2023, 50% of cities will deploy platforms that formalize crowdsourced participation in city budgeting and neighborhood decision making.
- Prediction 9: By 2024, 25% of state and local governments will use blockchain/distributed ledger technologies for benefits distribution, identity management, and permitting and contracts management.
- Prediction 10: With water scarcity a developing risk multiplier, by 2024, 45% of cities and communities will adopt IoT-enabled water management for usage and quality monitoring and leak detection.
This IDC study provides IDC’s top 10 Smart City and Communities predictions for 2019. The IDC Smart Cities and Communities team outlines key recommendations for government leaders who want to understand trends impacting IT investments and determine the best course for strategic planning.
The digital transformation of urban areas around the world is under way. With investment in Smart City solutions growing to $158 billion by 2022, cities and communities must now begin to strategically think about how to tie technology innovation to outcomes and how to coordinate departmental initiatives for citywide impact. IDC’s Smart Cities and Communities predictions represent our collective thinking on the major trends that will impact urban areas for the next five years.
Learn more about the 2019 Smart Cities Predictions
For context around these predictions, including the IT impact and guidance on how to integrate each prediction in the digital strategy of the enterprise, view the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Smart Cities 2019 Predictions web conference on-demand.
Adelaide O’Brien, Research Director, IDC Government Insights
Mark Zannoni, Research Director, IDC Government Insights
The 2019 Smart Cities Predictions come from IDC’s dedicated team of analysts with IDC’s Government Insights group. Visit idc.com/government to learn more about research from IDC Government Insights.