Smart cities: private sector opportunities in the United States

Companies across every industry are upping their digital game to create a new digitally connected landscape for US cities.

The transformation of cities is accelerating. More and more are rolling out Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies to digitize city life, making governments more efficient and citizens’ lives more productive, fulfilling and secure.

The global smart cities market should exceed $2.5 trillion by 2025, as governments work with private sector partners to provide digital solutions and create a complete urban digital ecosystem, with all-new products, efficient 24x7 citizen services and growing revenue opportunities.

PwC is helping leading and emerging companies to seize opportunities in the ever-more-digital cities of today and tomorrow.

Sector perspectives

Capital projects

From smart buildings to smart energy grids, PwC is working with engineering and construction companies on technology solutions, new kinds of partnerships with governments and digital service providers, community engagement, affordable housing and more.

Technology and telecommunications

Opportunities for smart city initiatives continue to proliferate as technology advancement (such as the convergence of IoT and AI) enables automation of city operations and services, along with faster telecommunications networks (such as 5G) to manage connectivity and data flow.

Mobility

Getting people and goods from point A to point B efficiently and quickly in the cities of the future requires reimagining the mobility ecosystem with new mobility hubs; more connected, shared, electric and autonomous vehicles; and new strategies to reduce congestion.

Utilities

To serve as the foundation of smart cities, utility companies must become utility platform players: providing not just pipes and wires, but the connective tissue for the smart grid and for the entire value chain of the energy ecosystem of the future.

Cybersecurity

Digital trust is a prerequisite for smart cities and their digital infrastructure, including edge data centers. Every company in future cities will need to emphasize cybersecurity and privacy, so governments and citizens alike trust that their services and sensitive information are safe.

Edge data centers may soon handle much of the data that flows through many sectors of our economy.

Environment

Extreme climate events, such as severe heatwaves and flash floods, are a growing global threat. Smart cities will need to incorporate climate resilient solutions – environmental sensors, cooling technologies, storm water management, mobile alerts and more – to protect their people, infrastructure and economy.

Is smart cities development the right business for you?

  • Given the evolving smart cities landscape, private sector providers need to ask some searching questions to help them navigate and avoid pitfalls including
  • How can you develop and present technology solutions to government that meet current needs while also offering downstream potential for new solutions and services, without over-complicating the initial proposal?
  • How can you enter into contracts that allow you (or third parties) to innovate, develop and deliver new services and solutions based on already-installed technology? How will you monetize capability while giving government latitude to create open markets?
  • How can you educate government on financing, risk and reward scenarios inherent in new technology solutions and services, and share both risks and rewards equitably with government?
  • How can you engage early with potential third party participants in this digital ecosystem and secure their participation in the framework of government-invested service/technology solutions?
  • How can you foster engagement with citizens to secure their buy-in for smart city development and its benefits for a new “citizen experience”?

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Contact us

Daryl  Walcroft

Daryl Walcroft

Principal, Capital Projects & Infrastructure Leader, PwC US

Greg Chiasson

Greg Chiasson

Principal, Capital Projects & Infrastructure (Technology, Media and Telecommunications), PwC US

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