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How Smart Technologies and IoT Ease Urban Growth

Community services within the world's major metropolitan areas are under stress as more people from rural areas continue to migrate toward inner-cities. Local government leaders are responding by making detailed space optimization plans to accommodate the population growth.

One approach that has gained momentum over the last decade is the adoption of smart technologies that ease urban expansion by automating routine support services. This approach is empowered by the utilization of Internet of Things (IoT) methodologies and the associated vendor ecosystem.

It's now estimated that 1.6 billion connected things will be used by smart cities in 2016 -- that's an increase of 39 percent from 2015, according to the latest worldwide study by Gartner, Inc.

Automation in Commercial Real Estate

"Smart commercial buildings will be the highest user of IoT applications until 2017, after which smart homes will take the lead with just over 1 billion connected things in 2018," said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner.

Commercial real estate developers can benefit from IoT by creating a unified view of facilities management as well as advanced service operations through the collection of data and insights from a multitude of embedded sensors.

Within large commercial sites -- such as industrial zones, office parks, shopping malls, airports or seaports -- IoT applications can help reduce the cost of energy, spatial management and building maintenance by up to 30 percent.

The primary applications fueling the growth of IoT are handled through building information management systems. In 2016, commercial security cameras and webcams as well as indoor LEDs will drive total growth, representing 24 percent of the IoT market for smart cities.

IoT deployment will continue to grow at a rapid pace, and is on pace to reach just over 1 billion in 2018. "Incentives into the deployment of IoT in commercial real estate will fuel its development," said Ms. Tratz-Ryan.

Automation in Residential Real Estate

In smart homes, the consumer electronics IoT applications that fuel growth are smart TVs, smart set-top boxes, smart lighting and various home automation enhancements -- such as smart thermostats, smart security systems and smart consumer appliances.

"The growing maturity of smart home platforms through an ecosystem of home appliances, infotainment and home sensors will mean that smart home investments overtake those of commercial buildings in 2018," said Ms. Tratz-Ryan.

Smart homes will represent 21 percent of the total IoT use in smart cities by 2016, and will record the highest increase over the next five years. Driving this trend, Gartner believes that wireless connectivity will be embedded in more devices.

Moreover, homes will move from being merely connected to the internet to becoming smart-enabled -- creating an integrated services environment that will provide value to the residents. People who want to collaborate on urban planning will be offered opportunities to shape the public policy.

"Citizens can actively contribute to the development and strategic direction of their city," added Ms. Tratz-Ryan. "At the same time, businesses become more empowered to utilize the sensor data to create their value proposition."

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