The United Kingdom is expected to gain market share of 10% of £250 billion of the smart cities industries by 2020, according to a new report titled the Global Market opportunities and UK capabilities for future smart cities. The report illustrates how tech can be used in the urbanized areas to enhance local residents’ quality of life. It also shows how big data can reduce city spending and waste, increase water efficiency and manage transport routes.
We already know the direction to which the Smartphone industry is heading, practically everyone will have such a device. Imagine a future where you have access to real-time information enabling you to make more informed choices with regards to your trip to the city before you even left home. Energy systems around the world have been tapped by increased demand as populations rise and the consumption increases. Smart energy management technologies can help utilities and distributors to forecast and manage loads better and reduce the need for costly infrastructure expansion and improve upon service quality and customer satisfaction.
The report says the technology alone cannot achieve the systematic change and that UK business has a responsibility to think being a move faster to drive this transformational change. To ensure that the UK does not miss out on the opportunities offered by smart cities, a new Smart Cities Forum has been established, chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark, and with representatives from cities, business, and scientists.
Mr Willetts said:“The opportunity to develop new technologies for smart cities in the UK is massive. We want to make sure that we are at the forefront of this digital revolution so we can stay ahead in the global race designing new innovations in the UK and exporting them across the world. “With around 80% of the UK’s population living in cities, we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the digital age. Through our information economy strategy we will support cities to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and save money.”
The UK government has to act, by 2050, it is estimated that the population will reach 9 billion people, with 75% of those people living in cities. Smart tech can solve some of the challenges presented by rapid urbanization. So far the government has invested around £95 million in research into smart cities funded by the research councils UK and has earmarked £50 million over a five-year period for the new future cities catapult Centre which is being established by the Technology Strategy Board in London. Earlier this year £33 million was invested in future city demonstrators. Other government-funded activities include the introduction of smart meters by 2020.
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