The Race to Become an IoT-Enabled Smart City Is On - Idea Couture

Photo Credit David Leo Veksler / CC

The Internet of Things is primed to be the “new industrial revolution,” according to British Prime Minister David Cameron. To support this statement, he pledged $122 million towards research and development, adding that this connection of everyday objects will boost the efficiency of infrastructure needs, like water systems and electrical grids.

Meanwhile, China is leading the way in the M2M market, with 74 million M2M connections and counting, and South Korea’s government is investing $350 million in about 300 globally competitive companies to develop an IoT ecosystem. Many countries will follow, intent to not miss out on the biggest opportunity since the internet and perhaps the electric car.

It’s evident that IoT has great potential to power the cities of the future, thus reshaping urban lifestyles and creating competitive global metropolises. There are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake for industries and individuals alike, from utilities and governments, to real estate developers and taxpayers.

Cities like London, Beijing, Seoul, Amsterdam, Palo Alto, and São Paulo are racing to build the smartest infrastructure from internet-connected building blocks. This includes systems such as intelligent traffic management— which London, Seoul, and Beijing are in great need of—including new revenue from toll-taking and congestion penalties. Parking spaces, air quality monitoring, plantation maintenance, and waste management are the other big opportunity areas. Smart electricity grids that adjust rates for peak energy usage would also have a sizable impact, with a savings of $200 billion to $500 billion per year by 2025, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

IoT-enabled cities are primed to create a more efficient and cost-effective quality of life, and opportunities are widespread across many industries. If we can think it, we can connect it.