“Living labs” are becoming more common as stakeholders realize the tangible benefits of testing technologies and solutions in situations that are as close to real life as possible. Lake Nona is a smart city near Orlando, Fla., that serves as a living, breathing laboratory for technologies and solutions like eVTOL (electric, vertical take-off and landing) jet aircraft, smart windows on commercial buildings, advanced stormwater management, smart lighting, and autonomous shuttles, among many others. It’s also a hotspot for innovation, housing a sports and health tech accelerator and now, a Verizon 5G Innovation Hub.
Companies are moving toward digital transformation at a rate faster than ever before due to a number of factors—productivity and impact on the bottomline are no doubt some of the top reasons. Still some of the other drivers of this movement include what the customer and the employee are demanding.
It’s a critical moment in the history of the Earth in terms of environmental action (or non-action) and climate change. It’s also an important time in what will become the history of the IoT (Internet of Things)—particularly robotics, machine learning, and AI (artificial intelligence). Innovative robotics and AI-based solutions aimed at addressing challenges related to climate change represent the culmination of these two realities colliding. Could AI technologies, including robotics and machine learning, help scientists, governments, and society at large solve looming, planet-wide issues?
It’s been a challenging year. Circumstances in 2020 have exacerbated certain business problems already at play in industries like construction, including skills gaps. The COVID-19 pandemic will also create the need for cities to look at different ways to design and build the smart cities of the future. After all, past pandemics—from the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages to the Spanish flu in the early 20th century—have prompted many changes to how cities are designed and built. Why would this one be different? Modular construction techniques will play an important role in helping not only the construction industry but also smart cities as they move forward into a post-COVID era.
In some industries, the pandemic has cast a shadow on the future. How will sectors like hospitality and retail recover from the pandemic-driven recession? Will industries still feel the economic effects of COVID-19 in 10 years’ time? While the smart-city sector will undoubtedly also be affected, it may also become a more urgent focus for governments that want to ensure they represent the cutting edge in technology that enhances quality of life. From healthcare and first response to transportation and infrastructure (both physical and digital), smart city solutions are going to be as needed, if not more needed, than ever. Smart city startups will help fill this need in the coming years.
With the move to 5G, so too comes the next generation of hardware and software for network infrastructure. In fact, the next wave of network transformation represents a $25 billion silicon opportunity by 2023, as industries look to benefit from 5G, edge, and AI (artificial intelligence).
First responders are getting a new way to ride, as one company is moving away from conventional commercial vehicle concepts and is developing an electric solution for fire trucks. Electric fire trucks are already on their way to fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dubai, offering these firefighters a ride in the ladder truck of the future.
The market for AI (artificial intelligence) technologies is going to expand tremendously in the next decade. Grand View Research says the global AI market will reach $733.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 42.2%. One of the many sectors that will increasingly look to leverage AI technologies between now and 2027 (and beyond) is first response. In fact, in some cases, the first-response industry is already engaged in piloting AI technologies for use on the front lines. What AI-related innovations are to come, and how will they make first responders’ jobs easier?
Startup activity is often a good measuring stick for gauging innovation in a particular industry. In first response, some exciting startups could help shape the sector in the coming years. ResearchandMarkets suggests first responder C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) equipment spending through 2025 will be driven by things like major international sporting events, border and area security, and disaster and emergency management. The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted investment in first-response solutions, particularly those in the medical realm.
There are few industries as mission critical as first response. Technology innovation in mission-critical industries like first response, therefore, is non-negotiable if U.S. cities want to provide the best quality of life possible to its citizens. Industry and government are both investing in first-response technology innovation through efforts like seeking R&D (research and development) proposals for partnerships and putting forth challenges/contests that offer cash and other types of prizes for winners. Stimulating innovation in these ways and others will help the first-response community by giving them smart new ways to digitize, automate, analyze events, collect more data from the field, and benefit from realtime communication.