Global smart city market growth will accelerate in 2018 according to a new report from business information provider IHS Markit. The report reveals that options are quickly expanding in the market, thanks to narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and Long Term Evolution category-M1 (LTE Cat-M1) deployments. In its Market Insight report, IHS Markit divides the IoT market into the following categories: connect, collect, compute and create. The following describes the top four trends within these categories, which will shape the smart city market in 2018 and beyond.

Funding on the rise

Lack of funding has been one of the main issues within the smart city market; however, new public and private initiatives are tackling this problem — fostering market growth for 2018 and beyond. Few initiatives were launched in 2017, but more are expected to come in the following years.
Australia and other governments recently launched national challenges and funding in order to speed the growth of their smart city sectors. The industry is also providing funding. For example, in November 2017, Cisco announced a $1 billion financing program to help cities develop smart city solutions.

Smart city platforms gather momentum

“The smart city platform is the brain enabling the creation of a smart city, shattering siloes and unlocking its real data-driven potential,” said Pablo Tomasi, senior analyst, smart cities and IoT, IHS Markit. “They are a key element for the long-term smart city vision, and companies of all types are focusing on them. Multiple competitors have found opportunity in the platform space, including network vendors, telecom operators, software vendors and application providers. Along with market expansion in 2018, competition among platform developers is ramping up.”

A new wave of technologies rises on top of the IoT

New technologies are also expanding on top of the IoT. “Machine learning and artificial intelligence, edge computing, drones and blockchain, are now part of smart cities,” Tomasi said, “Their importance will grow in 2018 and they will doubtless play a defining role in the future.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) include video analytics and chatbots, like those deployed in Los Angeles this year, to provide citizens with information and answers about city services. There is also increasing industry attention on edge computing, as Microsoft, Huawei and Dell focus on these types of solutions. Drones, used for maintenance and security, and blockchain, used to improve government services, will also accelerate in smart cities.

Smart cities are blurring the line between smart homes and smart regions

Smart cities are now entering the smart home through mobile apps and digital assistants. To communicate with their citizens, Los Angeles and Las Vegas both launched Alexa skills in the last two years, and Las Vegas even created its own channel, bringing city content to owners of Apple TV and Roku. “These types of developments are not the end of the road, but rather the starting point,” Tomasi said. “Future industry evolution will facilitate payments and permitting through a smart-city to smart-home axis.”