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Smart City Industry Predictions for 2019

By Ken Briodagh
December 27, 2018

As 2018 wraps, everyone in the Smart City industries are getting focused on the possibilities for the industry coming in 2019. A few folks have sent in their predictions and expectations for trends that will develop or mature in 2019 and we’d like to share them with you below.


Of course, all of you should register now for the upcoming Smart City Event, which will run January 29 to February 1 and will look at many developing IoT trends in depth.

Chris Penrose, president of IoT Solutions, AT&T
The Internet of Things is changing the world as we know it. Over the years, the industry has talked about what the future might look like and how our lives might be different as more and more things become connected. That future is no longer a vision – it’s an exciting reality that’s taking shape today. As we forge into 2019, here are some IoT trends and predictions that we see at AT&T.

The first mainstream self-driving ‘things’ likely won’t be cars.

Tractors and farm equipment, heavy machinery for things like mining, drones, and robots will lead the first wave of automation. While self-driving cars may eventually be a staple on the roadways, that reality is still many years away. These other machines will provide an early proving ground and will pave the way for mass automation in the future.

Cities will use gamification to encourage citizen engagement.

Smart Cities will use network technology in new ways to engage citizens, such as gamification. City residents will get points for things like paying their water bill on time, recycling, reporting potholes and for taking public transit instead of driving. Those points will be redeemable for discounts on services or VIP access to events in the city.

We’ll extend beyond connected things to connected spaces and connected experiences

From stadiums to entertainment districts to transportation systems, connectivity will be a key differentiator for fans and local citizens. Being able to identify the shortest concession line, or find and pay for the nearest parking spot, or order merchandise and have it delivered to your seat – all from your mobile device – will become more common when you attend your favorite sporting event or concert.

Video-as-a-sensor technology will enhance IoT data insights.

Near-real time imagery combined with near-real time data provides a 3-dimentional view of a business’s assets and processes. Companies and cities that adopt video sensors as part of their IoT strategy will have an enhanced ability to improve operations, save time and money, and increase public safety. Expect surveillance-as-a-service and inspection-as-a-service models to gain traction, and expect a new wave of multi-purpose IoT devices that include cellular-enabled cameras.

Franco Castaldini, Chief Commercial Officer, ThoughtWire
Smart buildings move beyond their walls to connect with smart cities.

For smart cities to gain traction, we need to focus the agenda for smart cities toward smaller use case studies for improving areas like public safety and sustainability. That needs to start with connecting the information inside the built environment to a smart city context. Recently significant advances have been made to connect these built environments with the cities that surround them, particularly with sensors that connect buildings to existing infrastructure. The sharing of information between these smart buildings and smart cities has to happen through a common infrastructure, data standards and access models, prioritizing interests of citizens and businesses to improve city life and safety. In the near future, smart building technology will integrate with smart city services to save lives by automatically updating first responders on security lockdowns, building fires and medical emergencies. However, for smart cities to succeed, the deployments should focus on the intent of the technology and not on the technological capabilities to improve outcomes.

Glenn Lurie, CEO, of Synchronoss
We’re going to see a smart city breakthrough in 2019 which will bring with it a wave of services from the connected car to the smart building and more on the smart home. But, these smart applications are connected individually, and do not have interoperability, therefore are essentially disconnected from each other – which is a massive missed opportunity for consumers.

Although a single platform that would allow for the management of a single connected life experience is not a reality today, and may not be for some time, the smart city will emerge as the umbrella with successful use cases – including smart buildings, connected cars, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure and smart grids – that demonstrate problem solving and moving us closer to a truly connected life. Carriers will also move forward to find ways to set up and sell new services, and drive incremental revenue quickly to capitalize on this.


The IoT Evolution Expo, and collocated events, IoT Evolution Health, LPWAN Expo, The Smart City Event, and IIoT Conference, will take place Jan. 29 to Feb 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Visit IoTEvolutionExpo.com to register now.

Editorial Director

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