Posted by TechRepublic on December 19, 2018:

It's true: Smart cities are more than a trend—they're the wave of the future as the world becomes more urban, with 60% of the population expected to live in cities by 2050.

Smart city technology spending reached $80 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to $135 billion by 2021, according to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC). This is happening because cities are digitally transforming to improve environmental, financial, and social aspects of urban life. The IDC defines smart city development as: The use of smart initiatives combined to leverage technology investments across an entire city, with common platforms increasing efficiency, data being shared across systems, and IT investments tied to smart missions.

To find out what's next in smart city technology, TechRepublic talked to several experts in the field as part of a roundtable discussion. Participants included:

  • Stan Humphries, chief analytics officer, Zillow Group
  • Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions, AT&T
  • Christina Bechhold Russ, Principal, Samsung NEXT Venture
  • Glenn Lurie, president and CEO, Synchronoss
  • Sameer Sharma, global general manager of Intel IoT's new markets, smart cities, and intelligent transportation business
  • Leigh Tami, chief performance officer and director, performance and data analytics, City of Cincinnati
  • Ian Campbell, CEO, OnScale
  • Erik Vesneski, business development manager of IoT, WWT
  • Ben Beinfeld, public sector business development manager, WWT
  • Charlene Marini, vice president of strategy, IoT services group, Arm
  • Eddie Garcia, director of worldwide sales and marketing, Milandr, Inc.

TechRepublic: What are some of the key trends that you think will occur in smart cities in 2019?

Erik Vesneski: Security, resiliency, scalability, and sustainability will need to be incorporated into the foundation of any IoT or smart and connected strategy. The IoT Application Enablement Platform space will go through significant changes via mergers, acquisitions, and organizational failures. Next generation law enforcement, UAV usage (drones), and next-generation war fighter projects will increase significantly. Increased automation, improved efficiencies, and artificial intelligence usage will increase in 2019 in manufacturing, utilities, and higher-education.

Ben Beinfeld: As IoT matures, and increasing levels of investment are required in sensors or related equipment, much more scrutiny should be applied to defining the potential costs and benefits of IoT or smart city initiatives. Those projects with a clearly positive ROI, and relatively quick time-to-value, should be prioritized or focused on.

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