- The smart cities solutions and services global market is expected to grow from $40.1 billion this year to 94.2 billion by 2026, according to a report by Navigant Research. The report assessed 16 technology companies that lead the market and its evolution.
- The technology companies chosen to participate in the research had to play a leading role in providing cities with large-scale smart infrastructure, IT and communications solutions. They also had to support cities across numerous service areas and have a global presence with the ability to work with cities in multiple regions.
- The top 5 smart city suppliers were Cisco, Siemens, Microsoft, IBM and Hitachi. However, researchers anticipate frequent changes to that list due to the rapid evolution of the industry, constantly emerging new technologies and other businesses' willingness to add new services in the future.
The study only included technology businesses that already have a significant footprint in the smart cities services market. It chose those that can provide cities with a wide scope of solutions, rather than those who offer specialized services, such as dedicated transportation or telecommunications businesses. That allowed researchers to analyze suppliers that can offer cities comprehensive and interconnected plans, rather than requiring a city to seek out a different vendor for each smart project it wishes to undertake.
The report is meant to help both vendors and city leaders understand how suppliers fit into the smart city landscape. Researchers found that even among industry leaders, a lot of variation exists with the type of services offered. That is not unusual for still-emerging markets. It is also not unusual because different cities have different smart goals and needs, and vendors need to cater to each.
Service suppliers can provide guidance on popular smart tech projects such as providing Wi-Fi in public places or installing smart traffic lights. But they can also help cities through pressing urbanization challenges such as balancing continued growth with emissions reduction and other environmental goals, as well as better resource consumption.
The report notes that the increased use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and the decreasing costs of their elements — such as sensors — is leading to their more widespread use and increasing demand in urban areas. That's helping to drive the smart city services supplier market growth toward the expected $94.2 billion by 2026.