The 2020s started out unlike any decade before. With extreme weather, political changes, and of course a major global pandemic happening as the decade began, we were destined for significant change. The concept of Smart Cities had already been gaining traction; but as the workplace became fluid and companies began investing in technologies to keep their offices working wherever the office needed to be, Smart Cities became more of a requirement than an option.
Here are the top seven trends we see developing in Smart City solutions:
1: EV Charging
Sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs) surged in the United States, Europe, and China in 2021, while deliveries of fossil fuel vehicles were stagnant. There are over 2 million EVs currently on the roads in the United States. That number could increase to 30 million by 2030, if projections continue trending in that direction. Demand for EVs is so strong that manufacturers are requiring buyers to put down deposits months in advance of inventory. However, charging stations are just starting to catch up to the demand. For each of the 150,000 fossil fuel stations in the US, there is only one EV charging port– that’s 1.2 million fuel pumps vs. 110,000 EV ports. At the current rate of expansion, the number of EV ports is expected to hit 500,000 in 2030, if the promises of the Biden administration are fulfilled. The bottom line is that EVs and EV charging stations are looking to be the future of personal transportation and could overtake internal combustion engines and their needed fuel stations within 10 years.
As the world shut down, cybercriminals became more creative and nefarious with how they attempted to access our most important information. Cybersecurity data breaches cost US companies millions of dollars each year. With businesses shifting their information to the cloud, expect ransomware and supply chain attacks to become even more relentless in 2022. To combat that, expect password policies to focus on alternative forms of authentication, with biometric authentication becoming the most common option. With FaceID, fingerprint scanning, and other forms already on the rise, we expect that trend to continue. Watch for an expanded focus on Security trends in a future post.
Renewable energies saw unprecedented growth in 2021 and that trend is poised to continue in 2022. Even with supply chain issues and costs for shipping, commodities, and installations at an all-time high, wind and solar capacity grew by 28% over the same period in 2020. Concern for climate change and support for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations is increasing. That, along with the Biden administration’s goal to fully decarbonize the US economy, is inspiring activity in the renewables sector that will only spur further growth, especially if legislation is enacted to ensure it.
4. Smart Grid
A smart grid is an electricity network enabling a two-way flow of electricity and data with digital communications technology enabling to detect, react and pro-act to changes in usage and multiple issues. Smart grids have self-healing capabilities and enable electricity customers to become active participants. With the Covid-19 economic fallout continuing, smart grid market size is estimated to grow nearly 20% from 20.8B in 2017 to $50.65B in 2022. These costs are driven by factors such as rising need for real-time information, availability of hardware and devices at affordable costs, government policies, legislative mandates, and increasing demand for renewable energy sources; but utility operators face numerous obstacles when attempting to adopt smart grid solutions, including security concerns, data protection, and the lack of technology for smart grids.
5. Building Automation
A Building Automation System (BAS) is a system that controls various electric, electronic and mechanical systems throughout a building. It is a distributed control system that integrates different types of building systems together into one centralized location. These systems are utilized to control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), as well lighting, security, and other systems. The growing demands for efficient energy management and coping with the rising costs of utilities are driving building automation to the next level across the industry. Smart buildings are handling more tasks and making faster and easier executions than conventional buildings and devices handling those duties. Automation systems trends for 2022 include: (1) Network Integration, putting all aspects of building operations on the same network, including fire alarms, access control units, video surveillance, elevators, etc. (2) Wireless Automation Functionality, which makes installation and modifications easier and remote operation more possible. (3) Energy Efficiency, which all building automation and control functions must be based upon. By doing so, owners save on operating costs and energy resources, and reduce CO2 emissions. (4) Virtual Smart Building technology, which plays a crucial role in the retrofit market, especially older buildings with obsolete systems or don’t feature such systems. IoT enables virtual systems which can use cloud controls to manage systems.
Being well-connected, reflective, and adaptable isn’t just a thing of the future anymore. Is your building, campus, community, or city truly future-proof?
To learn more about Smart Cities, or to set up a presentation in your office (or online), please reach out to Christa Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also welcome you to join us at Build Chicago Expo, October 13-14, 2022 at McCormick Place.