Smart cities to use 2.6 billion connected things in 2017

11 June 2015 3 min. read

The use of connected things by smart cities is expected to reach 1.1 billion this year and 2.6 billion in two years, research by Gartner shows. Smart homes will make the biggest use of connected things as a result of people personalising their homes. According to the firm, smart cities and the IoT provide significant opportunities for technology and services providers, which should start planning to capitalise on these opportunities.

In a recently released report, titled ‘Smart Cities Will Include 10 Billion Things by 2020 — Start Now to Plan, Engage and Position Offerings’, information technology research and consulting firm Gartner researches the effect of the Internet of Things* (IoT) on cities. The research shows that the IoT will connect people at homes and offices through billions of devices, making not only them but also the cities smart.

Gartner - Internet of Things

Smart cities
A smart city, as defined by Gartner, is an “urbanised area where multiple sectors cooperate to achieve sustainable outcomes through the analysis of contextual, real-time information shared among sector-specific information and operational technology systems.”

According to the report, the use of connected things will increase significantly in the coming years, with an estimation of 1.1 billion connected things used by smart cities in 2015, a number that will more than double to 2.7 billion by 2017 and almost tenfold to 9.7 billion by 2020.

Smart homes are expected to be the biggest contributors in the use of connected things, with an estimation of 294 million connected things installed in this smart cities’ base in 2015, and more than 1 billion by 2017. Connected things in smart homes include smart LED lighting, healthcare monitoring, smart locks and sensors for various things, including motion detection and carbon monoxide. “Homes will move from being interconnected to become information- and smart-enabled, with an integrated services environment that not only provides value to the home, but also creates individual-driven ambience. The home will become the personal space that provides assistance or personal concierge experiences to the individual,” explains Bettina Tratz-Ryan, Research Vice President at Gartner.

Connected Things Installed Base Within Smart Cities

Not only residents are expected to invest in the IoT, with the use of connected things in utilities, transport and public services also expected to be significant. Examples of the use IoT deployments include on-street and off-street parking guidance, road traffic guidance and traffic flow metering. As a result of this, new and transformative business environments and ecosystems will emerge, including companies that invest in streetlights with charging stations embedded in the post. “Electric mobility, charging stations and embedded IoT will generate additional IoT opportunities in smart cities. This could be, for example, IoT in vehicles, or vehicle batteries sensing and communicating with the driver, or the next charging station to negotiate charging terms,” says Tratz-Ryan. 

Bettina Tratz-Ryan - Gartner

“Smart cities represent a great revenue opportunity for technology and services providers (TSPs), but providers need to start to plan, engage and position their offerings now,” Tratz-Ryan continues. “We expect commercial IoT implementations to be used across multiple industries, such as smart energy, environmental service or journey planning, which will offer TSPs the opportunity to monetise IoT by building IoT-related service models. Significant value contribution will come from information and data analytics of IoT, which connect services to third-party transactions and billing records, as well as enabling subscriptions or on-demand services. This enables a multidimensional value chain with different partners.”

* Gartner describes the IoT as a “network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.”