COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Smart Cities is projected to reach US$1. 8 trillion by 2025, driven by the growing world population, unscrupulous exploitation of natural resources, and the ensuing search for sustainable ways to accommodate the 7+ billion people on the planet. The continued growth in population is already wielding a profound impact both on the environment and quality of human life. Lavish lifestyles in the developed Western economies are resulting in these economies consuming more than their fair share of Earth`s already constrained resources, while haphazard urbanization, ill-planned cities and overcrowding in developing economies are resulting in enormous wastages of precious natural resources. Unchecked urban sprawl is driving modern cities to their limits. Public infrastructure and resources ranging from food, energy, water, security, digital communication to transportation are being stretched to the breaking point. Inequitable distribution of resources is resulting in high cost of living, rising levels of pollution, cultural clashes, increased crime rates, and shortages in housing accommodations, among others. Restrictions on personal freedom is another key fallout of population explosion i. e. limits on water consumption, limits on driving, and limits on travel. Impact on the ecosystem includes species extinction, habitat destruction, and habitat fragmentation. In short, population explosion, a common thread cutting across countries and continents, is nibbling away at the planet. As countries, governments, and communities scramble to support this increase in population, coming to fore is the concept of "Smart Cities" enabled by intelligent information and communication technologies (ICT) technologies. Cities are becoming smart not just through the automation of day-to-day functions but also through the manner in which these functions can be monitored and analyzed for optimizing resource utilization, reducing costs, enhancing operational efficiency and improving quality of life. Key benefits of smart cities driving government investments in smart city technologies include higher and more productive citizen engagement in civic activities; better utilization of infrastructure; enhanced public safety; better communication and improved ability of cities to respond to natural and manmade calamities; unrivalled social, economic and environmental benefits and higher quality of life; massive reduction in energy and water consumption and wastages, among others. Other major trends in the market include growing integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in smart cities to provide actionable insights for policy makers to improve operational efficiencies, reduce resource consumption, monitor security risks and contain costs; undivided focus on demand response for its ability to enable closer consumer engagement in competitive city energy markets; and surging penetration of smart water meters and smart gas solutions against the backdrop of the expanding reach of smart utility services. Asia-Pacific ranks including China is a major market, driven by the growing pressure to improve quality of life in emerging markets; increased focus on "Smart Cities" in political agendas for the technology`s ability to provide fair human outcomes, and efforts of local governments to achieve international recognition for smart digitalization and sustainable economic development.