Technology 3 min read

Smart City is now Morphing Into Hyperconnected City

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jamesteohart /

Thanks to advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, Internet of Things, etc. the concept of smart city has changed. According to a study by a research firm, ESI ThoughtLab, we now have a hyperconnected city in its place.

Last year, ESI ThoughtLab researched the smart city initiatives of 136 municipalities in 55 countries. At the time, the survey included city leaders, businesses as well as citizens.

Also, it incorporated data from secondary sources and consulted third-party experts for analysis. This resulted in a publication titled “Smarter Cities 2025: Building a Sustainable Business and Financing Plan.”

Building on this previous research, ESI ThoughtLabs released a new report called “Building a Hyperconnected City.” This time, the study narrows its focus down to 100 cities, including Athens, Bratislava, Warsaw, and Washington DC.

In 2019, these cities spent a total of $141 billion on connectivity projects. With a population that ranges from 200,000 to 24 million, that’s an average investment of $1,220 per citizen.

The researchers divided the 100 cities into three categories: Implementers (25 cities), Advancers (50 cities), Leaders (25 cities).

Building a Hyperconnected City; The Takeaways

Here are some of the takeaways from the study.

The Growing Importance of Data

The study emphasizes the importance of data.

About 57 percent of the 100 cities say that they collect data from non-government sources. These include academia, businesses, as well as social media pages.

What’s more, 76 percent of “leaders” described their cities as advanced in gathering and extracting value from data. Meanwhile, 68 percent say that they use a data management system to integrate data.

Widespread Use of AI Tools and Internet of Things

Ninety percent of the 100 cities say that they use Wi-Fi, cloud, and mobile technologies. Also, 82 percent reported widespread use of AI tools in areas such as government initiatives and public safety.

Roughly 91 percent of the surveyed cities are currently using the Internet of Things. However, the number is projected to rise to 97 percent in the next three years.

Connectivity Comes With a Discernible ROI

The 100 cities that participated in the study say that their investment in connectivity generates an average return of 3 to 4 percent.

At 5 percent, leaders, however, have a slightly higher ROI. The researchers noted a similar disparity with specific municipal efforts.

For example, the average overall return from digital filing systems is 5.2 percent. Meanwhile, leaders reported a 7.1 percent ROI.

An Average Hyperconnected City is Unprepared for Cyberattacks

Less than half of the surveyed cities considered themselves “well prepared” for cyberattacks.

In the last year, an average hyperconnected city lost roughly $3.4 million to cybersecurity events. Eleven percent of the cities lost over $10 million, says the study.

Leader cities, on the other hand, reported an average loss of $6.2 million.

With that said, the cities will invest more in cybersecurity in the coming years. The report suggests that 82 percent of the connected cities will increase their cybersecurity budgets by more than 10 percent next year.

Investment in Hyperconnectivity Initiative Will Increase

The study revealed that the surveyed cities would invest more in municipal hyperconnectivity initiatives in the coming years.

Overall investment will increase by 14 percent next year. Meanwhile, implementers say that they will increase their investment by 21 percent.

Aside from transit and traffic projects, the cities intend to spend more on public safety and health initiatives.

Read More: Google Receives Go Signal to Build Smart City in Canada

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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