Pandemic puts premium on crowd analytics, open data, resilient cities

smart city
Frost & Sullivan sees big growth for tech related to smart city investments, partly due to the impact of COVID-19. Crowd analytics products, often used in traffic analysis, will grow by more than 20% a year over the next decade, the firm said. (Getty Images)

COVID-19 has put an ever-greater emphasis on big data, 5G and AI adoption in cities around the globe for use in healthcare and public security, according to analysts at Frost & Sullivan.

The analyst firm said it expects to see spending on smart cities-related tech to reach $327 billion by 2025, up from $96 billion in 2019.

AI and big data are expected to be areas in high demand to combat the pandemic with technologies in crowd analytics, open data dashboards and online city services.

“While COVID-19 has largely been a health crisis, it has disrupted city ecosystems and infrastructure tremendously,” said Archana Vidyasekar, a group research director at Frost & Sullivan. Digital contact tracing can play a role in letting citizens know the location of COVID outbreaks to promote safer urban movement.

All of this technology will lead to a variety of business opportunities with a market value of nearly $2.5 trillion by 2025, the analyst firm said.

Frost & Sullivan also said there will be more than 26 smart cities by 2025, including 16 in North America and Europe. Smart cities in the U.S. and Europe have already invested in open-data initiatives as part of the pandemic.

The analysts also said the crowd analytics market will grow by 20% to 25% by 2030, with revenues that were nearly $750 million in 2020.  Crowd analytics can help ensure better public healthcare services, as well as traffic movements and surveillance services.

Various smart approaches are expected to increase in the next two years, including contact tracing wearables and apps, autonomous drones and more.  Growth in autonomous vehicles, smart grids and intelligent traffic management will gain traction after the pandemic passes, the firm said.

The focus on pandemic-related technologies has led some in the smart city movement to begin focusing on the “resilient city” movement, as cities wrestle with ways to protect their residents and businesses over the long haul.

McKinsey & Company explored the nuances of how cities can be smarter with tech and new strategies and policies, arguing in a 2019 article that “smarter cities are resilient cities.” 

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