Friday, September 16, 2011

Europe Leads New Smart City Project Investments


Due to continued economic challenges, typical funding for municipal government infrastructure spending has been very limited. However, several forward-looking cities are currently moving ahead with plans to position their communities for the future -- while others are actively preparing to follow their lead.

A total of $8.1 billion was invested in Smart City technologies during 2010 across the globe, by 2016 that investment is forecast to reach $39.5 billion -- according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

A smart city is determined by six dimensions: smart economy, environment, governance, lifestyle, transportation, and community.

There are currently 102 smart city projects worldwide, with Europe leading the way at 38 projects, North America at 35, Asia Pacific at 21, the Middle East and Africa at six, and Latin America with two.

Some prime examples of local governments that are undertaking smart city projects are Holyoke, Massachusetts and Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Cisco Systems teamed with Holyoke in February 2011 and promised to change the former mill town into a smart and connected community within a year.

Cisco’s plans for Holyoke include using technology to deliver urban services in order to generate new economic opportunity, improve education, and bolster population retention.

Josh Flood, senior analyst at ABI Research said, “Smart city concepts are really taking off globally. Currently, the largest spending on smart city technologies is for smart grids; however, over the next five years we will see a significant increase on spending for smart transportation technologies such as automatic vehicle ID and smart governance systems such as e-ID and ID document systems.”

Amsterdam’s smart environment project, launched in 2009, is a collaboration between Utility Liander and Amsterdam Innovation Motor. The program aims to set up a unique partnership with the city’s residents, businesses, and government to save energy now and in the future.

The program’s ultimate goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in Amsterdam, as well as eventually all of Europe.

While Amsterdam had previously committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2025, compared to a baseline of 1990, the smart city project aims to achieve that goal ten years earlier by 2015.

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