Where are you right now, as you read this? Our educated guess would be a city. According to current figures from World Bank, around half of the world’s population—56% to be precise—call cities their home. However, if we were to ask you the same question in 2050, those odds will have increased significantly.
Estimates from the same report suggest that in less than 30 years, 70% of the population will live in cities. In countries like the US, this figure is set to exceed 80%. It’s clear that urbanization is growing at a rapid rate. Cities are devouring a greater proportion of rural spaces— and an increasing number of people see them as providing the best opportunity for work and quality of life.
This growth places cities at the forefront of economic, social, and global concerns about energy and water use, traffic management, sanitation, and sustainability. To address those concerns, municipalities are increasingly turning to smart solutions that promise to improve infrastructure and governance. But how does a city know which vendors to trust? Which partners are most capable of bringing a city’s smart ambitions to fruition?
As with every high-growth market, regulation and certification often has to play catch-up. There are hundreds of companies promising the latest smart technology, the brightest and best innovations. Only relatively recently have organizations begun to evaluate and make efforts to agree upon the criteria for what qualifies a city as smart.