Global smart cities will help drive IoT (Internet of Things) technology revenues in the next decade thanks to continued innovation and the desire to gather more data, reduce carbon footprints, and better manage city services. ABI Research says IoT technology revenues across 12 key smart-city technologies and verticals will reach $62 billion in 2026, up from about $25 billion in 2017. Some of the biggest IoT revenue growth opportunities, according to ABI, include smart meters and video surveillance, as well as EV (electric vehicle) charging stations and micro-grids, smart waste management and environmental sensors, smart parking, and smart street lighting.

A new incubator from the DEC (Dallas Entrepreneur Center) Network that’s focused on smart cities aims to support the emerging companies and technologies that are driving this growth in areas like the IoT, as well as data analytics and visualization, AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, blockchain, and AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). The DEC Network’s Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator launched in February alongside founding collaborators in both industry and academia that include AT&TCiscoMicrosoft, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the Dallas Innovation Alliance.

The incubator’s mission is to support companies that are building products and technologies in sub-sectors like citizen engagement and services, infrastructure, mobility, healthcare, public safety, and sustainability, among several others. Since entrepreneurship and innovation are inextricably linked, the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator will likely be a positive force in pushing innovation forward and helping emerging tech companies succeed. If and when they do, it’s a win-win for all, considering these companies would give back to their communities by helping to solve regional challenges and secure future opportunities through effective smart-city solutions.

In Canada, another collaboration spanning industry and academia, the evolv1 initiative from eleven-x, a low-power IoT solution provider and operator, as well as Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, also supports smart-city goals. The initiative involves a new commercial multi-tenant office building acting as a living laboratory for providing insight into sustainable buildings. A suite of LoRaWAN-based low-power sensors installed throughout the evolv1 building will monitor office environments, including air quality and light and sound levels, in realtime. The data collected from these connected devices will give building owners and operators (and other interested parties) awareness and understanding about how inhabitants interact with smart buildings, which can help building managers optimize systems and use less energy.

Smart buildings are just one of many puzzle pieces that will make up smart cities of the future. Key to enabling holistic smart-city solutions will be these solutions’ ability to integrate with each other. Open-source trends in the broader tech space may play a role in the smart city as well, allowing cities that are looking to enable many different smart services to avoid vendor lock-in. As tech in general continues to swing toward open systems that support collaboration and more rapid innovation, smart cities may also benefit from the open ethos.

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