Smart Grid News founding editor Jesse Berst summarizes a recent report, “Information Marketplaces, The New Economics of Cities,” that describes business opportunities cities are passing up by not fully utilizing the data that pours out of their smart infrastructures.

Page from Information Marketplaces, the New Economics of CitiesThe report explains how the world’s smart cities are failing to capture the full value of infrastructure and data.

Reports published by vendors are often self-serving, and this one certainly will not harm the fortunes of co-authors Accenture and Arup, both of which are large technology companies. But this report is part of the nonprofit Climate Group’s SMART 2020 Initiative, which gives it credibility. Their flagship report showed how better use of technology can reduce global emissions from all sectors 15 percent by 2020.

Berst’s blog post focuses on smart grid infrastructure, although “Information Marketplaces” is much broader in scope. Cities are technologically stalled, writes Arup director Volker Buscher:

“Over centuries, cities have developed sophisticated solutions for many of the physical aspects of urbanity: architecture, transport, utilities and the public realm to name a few. However the use of information and the role of technology in cities has barely progressed.”

As for the role of information and communication technologies, Accenture strategy director Mark Spelman writes:

“ICT can be applied to our built environment and will not only help address the problems that we see in our cities today – like congestion and wasted energy – but also offer exciting new consumer experiences and convenience, and help to stimulate the much needed economic growth and job creation, that is particularly required in the Western world.”

Siloed technology projects are being pushed into cities without an integrated framework, the reports explains. Cities need a better understanding of social and financial paybacks, to articulate meaningful outcomes for residents.


Read Jesse Berst’s summary from a smart grid perspective in Smart Grid News.

Learn more about technologies in smart cities in our recent radio special, “Sustainable Cities: There’s an App for That!

Download the report, “Information Marketplaces, The New Economics of Cities,” issued last month by technology companies Accenture and Arup, together with the non-profit Climate Group and Horizon, a digital-economy academic research center.