Smart-city revenues to exceed $3.5 billion annually by 2020: Navigant

Annual revenues from smart-city communications networks will exceed $3.5 billion by 2020, says Navigant Research in a new study.

According to the market-research company, smart-city networks are likely to generate $2 billion in revenues this year, as growing interest in the potential of M2M technology spurs technology adoption, and sales look set to continue growing over the next eight years.

Even so, Navigant warns that the communications environment for smart cities remains highly fragmented, noting that innovations in energy, transportation and the efficient delivery of public services depend on the availability of ubiquitous communications services.

“Most attention in the smart city community has focused on the upper communication layers and applications – including IT and data management – that govern how a smart city operates and enables the collection and analysis of new data sources,” said Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research. “Without the underlying communication infrastructure, however, the smart city vision cannot be realized.”

Navigant says municipalities deploying smart-city applications will have to take a range of factors into consideration, including bandwidth, latency, security, privacy, scalability and flexibility.

Ultimately, however, decisions about deployment are likely to hinge on availability, cost and “degree of comfort” with the technology for individual city managers and departments.

Navigant reckons fragmentation of the communications environment is impeding the development of more integrated smart-city solutions.