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Where Smart Cities and Industry 4.0 intersect

Why are smart cities and Industry 4.0 at a real point of intersection? Simply put, it is a convergence of ideas, needs, concepts and technologies that are combining to change the way we live.

Harnessing the potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) will require cities to integrate new innovation and technology-related concepts, to allow more effective, improved, higher-quality public services and greater infrastructure robustness.

What does 4IR bring into Smart Cities?

Firstly, partnerships are absolutely essential for cities to transform themselves into Smart Cities. Industry 4.0 technologies allow a technological transformation but can change the life of living in cities.

New technologies can improve the functioning of existing infrastructure and significantly alter future approaches to urban planning and design. The ability to focus on energy efficiency and reliability is totally reliant on 4IR. As we develop Smart Cities we need to develop a more sustainable plan. McKinsey estimates that the world’s top 100 cities will account for 35% of global GDP growth between now and 2025 as the global population continues to migrate to urban living, with 68% estimated to be residing in cities by 2050.

of global GDP growth expected between now and 2025 due to migration to urban living
of the global population expected to reside in cities by 2050

Sources: McKinsey Urban World Report; UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

To cope with migration pressure the cities of the future need to become smart.

Smart in their use of technology, in understanding integrated interventions in planning investments, the uptake of new technologies, the leveraging of Industry 4.0 technology solutions and the reliance on data. The whole area of Artificial Intelligence will need to enhance urban transportation, support smart grids, renewable energy, waste and water management.

Looking for more efficient ways to allocate energy and the use of smart grids will be crucial to cope with the surges in growth of population and the demands this will place on already over-burdened infrastructures.

The ability to apply AI algorithms and have data awareness will be critical to improving the efficiency of water pipes, sewage, location of utilities and their effective “predictive” monitoring. Equally, it will need to be applied to the flow of transport and people, in planning controls, routes and peak loads to reduce CO2 emissions caused today by congestion and excessive fuel consumption.

Industry 4.0 solutions are enabling Smart Cities

Industry 4.0 will also enable more effective applications and reduce dependences on overburdening infrastructure through its focus on efficiency and effectiveness in its production. The growing understanding of pollution can be evaluated by having sensors on machines and in grid networks. Insights determine infrastructure requirements for logistics and the interconnected network needs and demands.

Smart Cities investing in data connectivity and growing partnerships have the capacity to transform and shape our cities in the future. The increasing interconnectedness and wealth of data will enable a planner to make more informed decisions, and design new and existing business model alternatives that are cleaner and immersive. They will be able to attract new investment from high-tech cleaner manufacturing industries and stimulate many small-scale supportive opportunities.

The smart city can look for more decentralized, modalized and changing industrial profiles, based on higher-value activities and jobs.

Investing in the right data platforms ─ through public and private partnership where technological solutions are pivotal ─ will build smart city solutions.

Learning lessons from the intersections taking place between Smart in Cities and Industry.

The ability to learn and absorb the lessons and practices from Industry 4.0 will give Smart Cities integrative capabilities. It is these data platforms that will be purpose-built for the city to realize a comprehensive digital transformation that enables “smart”. It is recognizing and tailoring solutions to their specific problems. It is having an ecosystem partnership with the private sector which allows people living in the city to see and value change. This is how true transformation comes about. The approach to inclusiveness, that sense of safety, trust and recognizing a ‘certain’ resilience gives character to a city and new sustainability.

It is the learning, adoption of the thinking and application of Industry 4.0 principles and technology which will ‘enable’ the smart city. Transportation systems, energy infrastructure, and dynamic environments need a seamless connection to provide intelligent infrastructure. This comes from understanding how the 4th Industrial Revolution can be harnessed for the Smart City to emerge. Smart City technology touches upon all public and private resources and the infrastructure of a city to make urban living sustainably in the future.

Technology connects and intersects for all of us as it is a global revolution.

How we set about integrating new technologies, new innovative ideas, concepts, and emerging solutions need collaboration and strategic partnerships to be effective and of high quality. This will offer a better quality of life to the citizens living and working within the city and stands up to the challenges we are facing today. Technology unites the city in new innovative ways that allow citizens to be fully engaged and at the center of the changes – the changes to our cities need to cope with to handle the significant pressures they are under.

BY Paul Hobcraft

Paul offers views that have an outside-in perspective having lived in different parts of the world. Presently based in Switzerland, where his principal focus is mostly on Asian and European markets, developing his innovation practice and advisory work.

Data Sources

McKinsey – ‘Urban world: Mapping the economic power of cities’


green cities / IoT / smart infrastructure / sustainability

Finding solutions

Discover great platflorms for discussion on how to the most imminent urban challenges:

Explore the cities

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