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ICT & ‘Smart City’ Investments Can Be Worth Billions, Heavy Reading Finds

ICT & 'Smart City' Investments Can Be Worth Billions, Heavy Reading Finds

Smart city and ICT market opportunities will offer billions to network operators, says Heavy Reading Insider.

“Smart cities” and information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure offers business opportunities ranging in the billions for network operators, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Insider (www.heavyreading.com/insider), a subscription research service from Heavy Reading (www.heavyreading.com).

Smart Cities: The Opportunity for Wireline Network Operators delves into what a smart city really is, identifies exemplar developments, proposes a simple model of a smart city and its components and shows how islands of smart technology and processes can be joined together. It summarizes the relevant smart city products, services and solutions of several leading technology providers, indicating which of them are sold direct to city authorities and which can be used by wireline operators to help build a compelling smart city solution of their own. Finally, it profiles eight technology vendors and describes the activities of three network operators taking different approaches to capturing the opportunities presented by smart cities.

Danny Dicks , research analyst with Heavy Reading Insider and author of the report, says:

“The term ‘smart city’ defies simple definition, but it is generally used to describe a city with dense ICT infrastructure and applications using this infrastructure to make the city function as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

The ‘smart city’ is a useful shorthand term for myriad complex, sometimes interlinked, ICT solutions to problems of living and working in cities in the future.

The good news for wireline network operators is that significant additional revenue is there to be competed for, but this is tempered with the fact that each smart city opportunity is likely to be different, and there is no “one size fits all” solution, Dicks says. “Smart city projects and programs have several different drivers, sources of funding and outcomes. To build a smart city requires investment in ICT at multiple levels,” he continues. “Estimates of the scale of the ICT investment range very widely, but are generally in the order of billions of dollars per year, and rising sharply.

Key findings of Smart Cities: The Opportunity for Wireline Network Operators include the following:

  • “Smart cities” incorporate many layers of ICT, including networks, middleware and multiple applications/services
  • Smart cities are often built piecemeal because drivers of investment are varied
  • Vendors describe a complete vision to promote their thought leadership, but are pragmatic when it comes to selling their technologies to cities and operators
  • Wireline operators can capture smart city spending by leveraging network infrastructure, existing platforms, experience with city departments and their ability to turn technology capex into service opex
  • If they invest in M2M platforms, wireline operators may be able to capture more value, but wireless operators may be better placed
  • Partnerships with IT providers will add credibility in areas such as data analytics and applications
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