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What’s the Future of Smart Cities?

In the past decade we went from “dumbphones” to “smartphones”.

In the upcoming decade, we’ll see this exact same  transition take place with the very cities we live in. “Smart Cities” is a new term that’s been getting a lot of attention.

At the core, Smart Cities are leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies to create cities that are well, smarter. Better. Faster. And more efficient.

While we know it’s a hot buzzword, we can’t really understand exactly what it will be like to live in one of these cities of the future. So, to get a better understanding, we spoke with industry experts and asked….

What’s the future of Smart Cities?

Here’s what we found out!

Brian Lakamp, Founder & CEO of Totem Power

“The city of 50 years from now will need to make use of smart services embedded directly into our shared spaces. Now, the cutting edge of smart city infrastructure is usually hidden in the shadows. Making advanced energy, transportation and communications more visible in our communities will increase public understanding of these concepts and speed their adoption.

Building extensible and captivating platforms for the smart city will also be pivotal. Consider how profoundly the smartphone and the vast ecosystem of apps built on top of it have changed our daily communications. If new platforms can cultivate the same transformative power in the way we power and connect our cities, it will be a huge step forward.”


John McDonald, CEO of ClearObject

“Like all industries, cities must adapt to the changing landscape of technology and workforce. For a midsize city with long term goals like Fishers, Ind., the next 50 years should involve investing in local talent to grow the economy from within. These initiatives include partnering business community and schools to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs and planning adaptable commercial districts that allow entrepreneurs to meet the changing needs of modern business.

Quality of life will continue to be an emphasis for cities in 2067, especially in the areas of transportation and culture. Increasing the number of pedestrian paths and bike lanes are non-negotiables for the generation entering the workforce in 50 years. Local cultural experiences for residents and visitors are also essential for a city of the future to thrive. People will care more about dining and entertainment options and will not settle for experiences that are mass produced or inauthentic.”


Sergio Flores, Technical Product Manager at Samsung Electronics

“The adaptation of IoT (Internet of Things) systems and the use of currently gathered data from sensors found in every electronic device to optimize systems will largely determine the future of today’s cities. Indeed, the implementation of smart parking systems and self-traffic aware vehicles in intelligent highways will allow cities to optimize urban planning and to have more efficient and sustainable transportation systems. Similarly, the use of sensor information to create noise urban maps as well as to continually monitor vibrations and material conditions in buildings will permit governments to have a more efficient use of resources in construction and maintenance as well as achieve better environmental sustainability. Finally, the total implementation of smart homes will allow houses to use electricity and resources more efficiently while creating more personalized spaces for people. This eventually leading us to a long waited future of data-driven optimized cities.”


Sam Ruchlewicz, Senior Digital & Marketing Strategist at Warschawski

“Of all of the challenges facing our future cities, there are three that stand out: (1) designing sustainable, self-sufficient urban centers with the infrastructure necessary to accommodate nearly 3B new residents over the next 30-50 years; (2) successfully leveraging new and emerging technologies to better understand and combat the sources of violence, disease, poverty and inequality within existing cities and (3) finding creative ways to finance the new development, infrastructure and programs that result from (1) and (2) above.

Tomorrow’s cities are likely to be both expansive and incredibly intertwined. Technologies such as “smart”, solar-powered roads capable of changing in response to existing conditions will help minimize congestion while providing the infrastructure necessary to maximize autonomous vehicle technology, thereby improving worker productivity. New energy sources (geo-thermal, waste-to-energy, solar, wind) will likely work in tandem with sustainability projects to dramatically reduce carbon emissions while enabling mega-cities to finally become self-sufficient, improving quality of life for residents while dramatically reducing GHG emissions. Finally, as urban density increases (better, cheaper building materials allows for larger buildings to be more economically viable), you’ll see less of a reliance on the individual car as a primary mode of transportation and more of a reliance on autonomous technologies (buses, drones, etc.), public transit and co-working/remote working. This will improve economic mobility while fostering innovation, as workers will no longer be constrained by commutes, traditional neighborhoods, etc.”


Richard Murdocco, President of The Foggiest Idea Inc.

“Cities of the future are likely to look very similar to the cities of today, with adaptations to accommodate the latest technological advancements of the time, including autonomous transportation and enhanced internet connectivity. Most planners look three decades out – projection 40 to 50 years out are not typical in the industry.

Looking back at the landscape of America’s suburbs and urban areas in the last fifty years, the landscape has not changed much, with the exception of increased commercial and residential developments. The cities of the future will likely be denser, with some lower-density areas retaining the look and feel of today thanks to strict zoning, and other areas pushing the boundaries of their growth with more progressive codes. Suburban areas will look similar as well, but with more development concentrated near transit hubs.”


Paul Burke, CEO & Founder of RentHoop

“We’re seeing millennials arrive in droves to live in cities – LA, San Francisco, NYC. It’s driving up prices, but also making people think differently about living space. We’re seeing companies like Open Door create cohabitating spaces that lack the privacy our parents had.”


Ian Sephton, CEO of Syncromatics

“In 50 years the floor plan of cities will completely change. There will be less of a need for parking due to car memberships instead of ownership, currently Cadillac and Ford are exploring this option, as well as ride sharing from services such as Uber and Lyft. City planners will no longer need to add massive parking structures to their plans, but instead more public transportation routes since public transportation sectors are going to deviating from the concept of fixed routes to more flexible services to compete and integrate with Uber type needs in the market. On top of that, large cities in close proximity, for example San Francisco and Los Angeles, will be linked by Hyperloop transportation systems instead of regional flights, adding in a completely new dynamic to our cityscapes. Companies like Syncromatics specialize in assisting large scale transportation systems such a public transit, in transitioning from the current out of date fixed routes to more flexible options with automated driving & passenger counting, real time updates, wifi, and integration of apps for consumer ease.”


Roei Ganzarski, CEO of BoldIQ

“Drones, driverless vans, delivery bots, and other future technologies have the potential to make a great impact on our day to day lives, making life easier, more real-time, and perhaps even healthier. From less congestion on the roads to real-time deliveries, all the time. In dense cities, delivery of Amazon purchases or restaurant orders will be done by small bots and sidewalk-based drones alleviating traffic by minimizing the number of large vehicles in a city. On the other hand, rural areas should see an increase in drone deliveries and autonomous trucks and vans hauling goods long distance. These next generation technologies will connect rural and urban areas, providing a higher quality of life and ensuring communities are truly smart.”



About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

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