The Internet of Everything is a Huge Opportunity for Cities

International CES

By Justin Bull

January 16, 2014

The “Internet of Everything” (IoE) could add  $1.9 trillion of economic value to urban areas over the next 10 years. New research from technology giant, Cisco suggests smart buildings, intelligent gas monitoring, advanced transportation networks and similar technology-enabled solutions will all play important roles.

When Cisco included the entire public sector – not just cities – an estimated $4.6 trillion of value could be unlocked through savings or new revenues. What’s more, according to Cisco and its IoE partners, the pace of deployment is picking up, with 2014 predicted to be an inflection point.

One example from San Carlos, California, shows the transformative power of IoE. Using a public-private partnership, the city installed 500 sensors to enable so-called “smart parking”. Deployment took five days, and once finished the time spent hunting for parking spots decreased 60-70% while meter compliance increased by the same amount.

Key to the deployment of IoE is fast-turn around. City managers are looking for investments that immediately generate returns, rather than wait years to recoup costs. Cisco agrees, and is working to develop a wide range of human to human, human to machine, and machine to machine technologies that can help foster more efficient and connected cities.

Other opportunities identified for new savings and revenue include smart buildings, which cost less to operate, gas monitoring to improve accuracy and reduce meter-reading costs, and water management where consumption and maintenance costs can both be reduced.

Cisco predicts there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. But a more connected world could pose new risks, according to Symantec, an Internet security company. As more gadgets, buildings, and utilities are brought online, hackers will find a host of opportunities to breech security. With tooth-brushes, fridges, pacemakers, and other connected technology on displayed at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, its clear that opportunities to hack are only increasing.