The evolution of technology and local government will be centered on helping municipalities keep pace with the speed and magnitude of change and heightened operational flexibility in 2015 and beyond, according to researchers from IDC Government Insights.

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Analysts from the IT advisory and market intelligence firm delivered those comments and more on Wednesday as a part of the Worldwide Smart Cities 2015 Predictions presentation. IDC's top 10 list of imperatives spotlighted the maturity of smart cities, expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), increased emphasis on resilience and a need for innovative IT sourcing techniques through 2018.

The top 10 list includes:

Smart city maturity – cities will seek performance standards to benchmark and track their progress.

Emerging economies – IDC expects smart city IT investment to grow significantly, driven by innovations in China, India and the Gulf states investment in high-tech infrastructure.

Internet of Things – By 2018, researchers believe local government investment in IoT initiatives will represent more than 25 percent of all government external spending in the area.

Resilience – Severe weather concerns will drive collaboration between public safety and sustainability programs, including a 30 percent hike in urban predictive IT investments by 2018.

Sourcing innovation – IDC sees new tech procurement techniques generating a 25 percent growth in collaborative city operations over the next few years.

Civic clouds – Nearly one-fourth of cities will be using shared cloud services for data management by 2018.

Third platform architecture – Seventy percent of city CIOs will lack an information architecture strategy for cloud, analytics and connected devices in 2015.

Data strategy – IDC predicts that 25 percent of mid-size cities should have “whole-of-city” data and analytic strategies rolled out in the next three years.

Chief digital officers – The number of chief digital officers should grow fivefold in cities and counties by 2018.

Civic tech – U.S. state and local governments will invest approximately $6.3 billion in civic engagement technologies in 2015.