What do the pundits see the future holding for smart cities? Interestingly, many of the predictions have to do with what smart cities will not do, rather than what they will accomplish.
This maps with IDC’s prediction that by “2017, 75% of cities worldwide will fail to take full advantage of smart city data and digital assets due to a lack of process, project management, and change management skills.”
Now the glass-half-full futurist will counter that the statistic means 25% of cities will take full advantage. But the fact is, smart cities tend to evolve glacially, and cross-silo politics can make change incredibly difficult to achieve.
While a technology like IoT can surely survive in the street lighting, water or transportation departments, the ability to leverage data exhaust across departments is where three-quarters of cities have yet to show progress. As a side note, IDC predicts that street lights will become the No. 1 IoT deployment in smart cities around the world.
Gartner warns that another dark cloud will be increased regulation of IoT for smart cities. This could slow deployment while accelerating vendors’ desire to earn market share before the standards are enforced.
Perhaps the most interesting prediction for 2017 involves a nexus of healthcare and smart cities, what is sometimes referred to as the red-hot population health sector.
IDC is predicting that by 2018, 20% of public safety agencies will test cognitive computing to predict and prevent domestic violence, mental health and addiction incidents, drastically reducing service requests.
Anyone who has seen IBM’s Watson Health in action has seen the power of cognitive computing in disease control and diagnosis. As more and more citizens use wearable fitness devices, which can serve as IoT nodes feeding into cognitive technologies, the power — and security risks — increase exponentially.
No smart cities coverage can be complete without considering the importance of cybersecurity across city and national grids. IDC predicts that in “2017 at least one mid-size to large city will suffer a cyberattack that will impact its ability to effectively function for one day.”
It’s interesting to note that these attacks may not even originate from within the formal smart city grid. Many of the recent malware attacks have come from hacked home devices that, in turn, interface with businesses and city services.
This reinforces the need for an IoT security strategy, even if a city has no formal IoT deployment. The proliferation of consumer connected devices that in some way touch the infrastructure means that the potential is out there to bring down a city.
Security expert Kyle York warns “it could be your DVR, it could be a CCTV camera, a thermostat [that does it.] I even saw an Internet-connected toaster on Kickstarter yesterday.”
What are your thoughts on the top smart city trends in 2017 ?