The Black & Veatch 2017 Strategic Directions: Smart City/Smart Utility Report measures the progress made by communities and utilities on the path toward smarter cities. The report also discusses potential hurdles that may impede success.
Around the globe, cities and infrastructure providers are reaping the results of their planning, alternative financing strategies and use of data to make critical systems run more efficiently and sustainably.
Municipalities are starting to understand the power of data and how it can foster and support master planning, and how a roadmap can define, drive and ultimately enable smart city initiatives. Utilities are working to integrate advanced technologies ‘” such as evolving to accommodate distributed energy resources (DERs) and improving network connectivity ‘” to determine a successful path forward in a changing landscape.
But the story of smart city adoption remains a tale of two visions. Do cities adopt gradual, single-point upgrades? Or do they employ root-level master planning to holistically rethink infrastructure, transportation and city services? Today’s choices will go a long way toward developing tomorrow’s cities.
Survey responses show that the vast majority of municipalities (94 percent) view the smart city movement as transformational and capable of bringing positive, long-term impacts to cities around the world. However, efforts to implement comprehensive smart city and smart utility efforts remain stymied due to well-known barriers such as budget constraints and limited resources and expertise.
The report recognizes that key gaps remain in the areas of planning, funding, and technology through data management that will force governments and utility providers to revisit how they approach these efforts.