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Smart City Survey Results: Trends and Success Factors

Bob Nilsson Director, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 27 Jun 2018

The smart city train is leaving the station. According to our worldwide user survey, 66% of municipal IT staffs are investigating, evaluating, and implementing smart city projects with Internet of Things devices. A broad range of projects are being driven by the very low cost of IoT sensors, the prevalence of smart phones, and the growing demand of residents for more and better services.

The Benefits

When asked about the benefits of IoT smart city technology, participants reported improved public safety, reduced expenses, quicker responsiveness to resident needs, and better data for managing the city as the top advantages. The municipal departments achieving these results include public works, police, fire departments, EMT, and public health. Participants reported these types of IoT smart city projects:  smart buildings, smart parking, smart traffic, smart lighting, smart utilities (water, gas, electric, etc.), and smart surveillance/security/disaster response.

Important Factors for Success

Network security and network bandwidth rank as the top factors necessary for successful implementation of IoT smart city projects. The most-used network standards today are Wi-Fi (76%) and Ethernet (67%), followed by LTE (41%) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE, 15%).  

Types and Variety of Sensors

The survey asked about the types and numbers of sensors involved in smart city projects. Video cameras (79%) were the most prevalent, followed by traffic sensors, power meters, flow sensors, temperature, motion, water quality, and air quality sensors. The sensor counts are clustered in the range of 1-100 (45%) with 4% having greater than 10,000 sensors.

Potential Drawbacks and Concerns

To get the most out of the smart city projects, communities need to be sure they have access to new skill sets related to sensor technology, big data, and smart phone apps. These skills include big data analysis, network management, and app development. Participants pointed out that it is important to gain broad awareness within the political community, to build support during budget cycles.

Funding Sources for Smart City Projects

More than half the participants say their funding for new smart city projects comes out of the normal budgeting process. Other funding sources include grants, special bond issues, public-private partnerships. It is also possible to fund projects through advertising and data sharing.

Staying Current with Industry Trends

These are suggested newsletters and websites to keep up with smart city industry developments.

Survey Details

The smart city survey was conducted between September, 2016 and April, 2017. The 305 participants are in state, county, and local/city governments worldwide.  

To learn more about the smart city, be sure to attend the webinar, How Your City CanTransform into a Smart Citywith special guest, Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, research director, Global Smart Cities Strategies Program, IDC.




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