April 12, 2024

The new technological trends will shape the smart cities of tomorrow

The World Bank estimates that the global urban population will double in size by 2050, increasing pressure on city streets, housing markets, infrastructure, government services and the environment. Fortunately, developments in AI, IoT, robotics and the continued deployment of 5G in recent years have made the timing ripe for new technology solutions to come to the rescue. In 2023, the global smart city market was valued at $748.7 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8% between 2023 and 2030.

These new solutions will transform our urban environments into the beautiful ‘smart cities’ that exist in our imaginations – but what will that mean in practice?

While we may not be able to predict the future, there is one place that could give us a glimpse of what lies ahead: the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which will host this year’s HKTDC InnoEX and Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition). take place. April 13-16, 2024.

These two fairs serve as a global platform for thousands of exhibitors to showcase the latest in cutting-edge technology and electronics and attract more than 80,000 buyers from approximately 21 countries and regions, making it a meeting place for technology companies, policy makers, academics and users to discover and exchange ideas.

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TNW spoke to some of this year’s participants, from Hong Kong to Paris, to get their thoughts on the biggest trends set to emerge in the smart city market in the coming years.

The rise of AI and assessing global solutions to local challenges

As the founder of the Smart City Consortium, a platform of companies, academics, professionals and government officials, Gary Yeung has had a keen focus over the past decade on the trends and technologies shaping the smart city market. He believes one technology in particular will become a catalyst for the next evolution in smart cities.

This is the year of AI. Whatever theme we discuss will be related to the development of AI. Last year we talked a bit about the use of AI, but now I see more and more practical applications and soft landings in different industries.

This technology will support the entire development of smart cities. While IoT devices collect Big Data, it is AI that allows us to get answers and develop new applications. It is these new applications that will define the development of smart cities and also provide enormous opportunities to various industries.

While innovation can achieve great things, it also needs to be honed towards responsible applications. Therefore, for Yeung, the real definition of a smart city is the use of technology to solve sustainable development goals:

Technology is a means for us to do things more efficiently, but we need more efficient energy solutions to support us, whether electric or hydrogen. New innovations require more energy, so for example we need more efficient data centers to power them. But we cannot place the responsibility solely on governments, we also need solutions with social impact.