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Trends and Opportunities in Smart City Development

By 09/10/2020September 8th, 2022No Comments

Global Advantage Consulting Group has recently completed a comprehensive survey of the trends and opportunities in development of smart cities and how they may be applied to southern Ontario, on behalf of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev)

The 19th century was a century of empires, the 20th century was a century of nation-states and the 21st century is shaping up to be a century of cities, in particular Smart Cities. Today, 55% of the world’s population are urban dwellers, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. This unregulated growth in most parts of the world, including Canada, is placing increasing pressure on city public infrastructures and city services, especially transportation, energy, housing, water, and public health.

smart city characteristics

Characteristics of a smart city.
Source: H. Samih (2019).

On a grander scale and with a view to the future, Smart Cities and Smart City technologies can provide solutions to challenges that have long been troubling both city and world leaders alike, such as ways and means to provide affordable housing, reduce urban inequality, address climate change, deliver quality health care and mitigate transportation gridlock at the same time as cities become the dominant nexus of human habitation. 

What can be seen in each of the existing definitions of Smart Cities is that there are common themes that centres on viewing a city from the perspective of what information and communications technologies can be applied to operating a modern and dynamic city that aspires to enhance the quality of life for its citizens and its diverse economic activities, while enabling a safe and healthy public environment. 

What makes a city ‘smart’?

When communications connectivity is added to a passive object, it is referred to as smart, as in smoke and fire detectors that call the fire service. The three fundamental technology components, all ICT-based, that are essential to becoming a Smart City are sensors, networks, and data analytics. These must be supported by policies and technologies that offer open data, requisite anonymity, cybersecurity, and interoperability. Collectively these combine in multiple ways to provide a myriad of applications that support city operations and offer services to various interest groups within the urban community.  

On the strategy development side, one of the principle findings of our research is that Smart City project authorities who consult and collaborate early and often with both the private sector and residents are more effective at developing sustainable Smart City solutions.  

With respect to technological trends, the existing connections for critical Smart City services are typically optical fibre networks. However, the lower latency, higher density and network slicing abilities of 5G have major positive implications for the future scale of Smart City applications. 

The highlights of our report include:  

  • A technological trends analysis that provides a deep dive into 10 critical Smart City technologies and their potential applications 
  • A breakdown of the technological implications for critical city-level service delivery 
  • Funding and financing model analysis for Smart City projects  
  • Case studies of projects and strategy developments  
  • Innovative policy recommendations from around the world to foster Smart City development 
  • Strategic recommendations for municipalities seeking to develop a Smart City strategy 

If you would like to know more about our Smart Cities report or are looking for assistance developing a Smart City strategy for your municipality, our team of dedicated researchers and expert consultants are here to assist you in your Smart City transformation.  



Global Advantage Consulting Group offers a variety of services customized to your organization’s needs. To see more about how our products can help shape your organization’s understanding of Canada’s research and develop innovation ecosystem, visit our portfolio of work here.