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Half of smart city objectives will include climate change, resilience and sustainability key performance indicators by 2020: Gartner


November 10, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter


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By 2020, half of all smart city objectives will include climate change, resilience and sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs), Gartner, Inc., the Stamford, Conn.-based information technology research and advisory company reported.

Cities are defining new objectives and placing them into tangible programs, creating measurable outcomes that meet the targets agreed upon at the COP 21 in Paris late last year to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Gartner said in a press release earlier this week.

“With the Horizon 2020 goals of energy efficiency, carbon emission reductions and renewable energy in mind, many cities in Europe have launched energy sustainability, resource management, social inclusion and community prosperity initiatives,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner, in the release.

Tratz-Rayn discussed how Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and the ability to analyze data in a contextualized way can accelerate the development of smart city execution during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which runs from Nov. 6 to 10 in Barcelona, Spain.

Tratz-Rayn noted that major world cities have adopted traffic and mobility objectives to resolve or mitigate the traffic congestion issue with IoT-enabled smart city solutions, but urban mobility does not stop at a seamless choice that consists of moving from A to B.

“The uptake of ridesharing, the electrification of public transportation, the support infrastructure for e-vehicles and congestion charging for combustion engines, all of those examples are driving cleaner air, producing fewer GHG emissions and saving energy, while improving the noise levels and ambience on streets,” Tratz-Ryan said.

She cited the “Florence card” as an example of how there can be a substantial economic benefit in those measures that can be also directly related to climate change, resilience and sustainability outcomes. “The Florence card provides free transportation on electric buses to many touristic sites, helping improve the cultural and touristic experience of the visitors while using environmentally friendly electric buses,” Tratz-Ryan said in the release. “This example shows that there are economic advantages in those measures that can be also directly related to climate change, resilience and sustainability outcome.”

Sensors have become a critical element in the execution of climate change goals and are at the heart of smart cities, Gartner noted. According to Gartner, in 2017, approximately 380 million connected things will be in use in cities to deliver sustainability and climate change goals, and this figure will increase to 1.39 billion units in 2020, representing 20% of all smart city connected things in use. In 2017, use cases in smart commercial buildings and transportation will be the main contributors, representing 58% of all IoT installed base in smart cities, Gartner said.

Driven by the Ecodesign directive that stipulates that members of the European Union will have to phase out their incandescent streetlights by the end of 2016, Gartner analysts expect that those sustainability targets will also have a positive investment and innovation impact, especially for the industrial sectors located in urban corridors.

“Cities will become the environmental centres of excellence for new technology development, offering a stress test environment for the industry,” Tratz-Ryan said in the release. “The advantages for cities will be profound. They will not only meet their mandated targets of the Horizon 2020 goals, but also develop greener and more inclusive city conditions that citizens can acknowledge as KPIs.” As an example, the city of Amsterdam showcases the massive efforts the city is undertaking to link energy resilience to innovation in greentech and alternative resources. The city is also building user friendly options for multimodal mobility options such as car sharing, bike stations or walkable streets, Gartner reported.

In parallel, the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive means that public buildings and private real estate will have to reduce their energy consumption by 3% every year. Today, heating, cooling and lighting are responsible for approximately 60% of a building’s energy consumption, the release added. “Implementing an integrated business management system for lighting and heating and cooling can reduce energy consumption by 50%,” Tratz-Ryan said. “This is a significant contribution to the commitments of cities to reduce their footprint of GHG.”