How an IoT Platform Can Help Your Smart City Business Strategy

Written By: Brant Henne
  • 5/15/2018
Smart Cities

According to recent report by Grand View Research, the market size of Smart Cities is expected to reach $2.57T by 2025. It’s arguable that estimate is conservative, given infrastructure and hardware changes, and potential reinvestment of Smart City-based dividends. Consider that Smart City leader Tech Mahindra recently committed $100M to a center of excellence in Toronto—which is unrelated to another Smart City initiative with a $2B budget—and you begin to get a sense of the scale.

Smart Cities Are A Business Opportunity—And A Challenge

While it’s clear that business is booming for Smart City developers, there’s plenty of hurdles standing in between an RFP and a completed project. At the risk of overgeneralizing a very diverse market, cities generally tend to plagued with an abundance of silos. Budgets, approval processes and priorities are boxed into independent departments that are, at the best of times, indifferent to one another. Physical infrastructure is often segregated and irregular; a city boasting a shiny new power grid may also have 19th-century aqueducts. Oftentimes, city infrastructure services and assets are managed through a partnership with private entities. Technology infrastructures are invariably variable with numerous point solutions and aging line-of-business applications operating in isolation. And of course, the exact structure of this siloing is unique to each city.

These challenges are omnipresent and nontrivial, but they are also well-defined. Industry-leading Smart City solution providers are demonstrating how to break down these silos by relying on industrial IoT platforms.

Why Industrial IoT Platforms are Well-Suited for Smart City Applications

IoT platforms, particularly those like ThingWorx that are focused on industrial use cases, provide a framework for connecting devices, harnessing the data they create and building powerful applications from that data. Unlike other types of IoT platforms that focus just on building smart, connected products, industrial IoT platforms enable smart, connected operations. A core competency of industrial IoT platforms is their ability to provide near-immediate device monitoring, and directly use that functionality to expand and build additional solutions, such as predictive maintenance and automation.

Despite some very obvious differences, cities and industrial settings share many common traits. They have very dispersed and complex operations and strategic objectives focused on improving efficiency. Like factories, cities can have a vast physical infrastructure and a seemingly endless supply of connectable devices. Both settings are often saddled with siloed applications and data.

The Smart City developers who are pulling away from their competition have banked on these similarities and are using proven industrial IoT platforms to address the silo challenges of city opportunities. Specifically, these platforms are solving three key problems: 

  • Connectivity - They efficiently connect to devices and applications with ease, enabling developers to essentially discard physical and virtual silos.
  • Timeliness - They provide an authoring environment that enables developers to provide complete solutions in a fraction of the time of custom applications.
  • Scalability - Finally, these platforms are architected to solve for both the current, requested solution, while ensuring that more expansive and desirable solutions can easily be introduced on the same technology.

As a result, Smart City builders who have found the right platform are building better solutions faster. These solutions accommodate and leverage existing infrastructure, freeing cities from having to make immediate and costly investments in upgrading physical assets or applications.

These benefits are just one way that the leaders in the Smart City market are differentiating themselves from the competition. To learn six strategies for making the most of a platform approach to building Smart City solutions, download the complimentary ebook “Platforms for Building Better Smart Cities: 6 Ways to Deliver Better Smart City Solutions Using an IoT Platform.” Filled with actionable guidance and specific, real-world examples of success, the ebook will help you refine and focus how you deliver Smart City solutions.

Get Your Copy of Platforms for Smarter Cities
  • CAD
  • Industrial Internet of Things

About the Author

Brant Henne

As a Content Strategy Manager, I thrive on engaging technology stories. There's no shortage of these stories at PTC; we're helping entire industries use the IoT and AR to transform their business.