A double take on 'smart' markets

The smart home and smart cities markets – aimed at making our technologies, homes and cities more intelligent – are set to double by 2017, a new report says.

The world’s population is still growing fast, and our cities are absorbing the majority of that growth. Naturally, rapid urbanisation comes with a variety of challenges and problems. What we might call a ‘movement’ to address those is the instilling of higher ‘intelligence’ in urban systems and processes. You’ve probably now gathered that this is referred to as the ‘Smart Cities’ movement.

“This means digitalisation of the present systems, so that they can sense, analyse and integrate data for them to respond intelligently to the needs of their jurisdictions, thus making them smarter and more efficient,” GBI Research writes in a new report, Smart Cities Market to 2017. “Cities can thus grow while avoiding having their infrastructure overloaded, thus maintaining an acceptable quality of life for their inhabitants.”

The report has all sorts of details on GBI Research’s projections for the smart cities market as a whole up through 2017, as well as specific components of it.

Some of the components that we discuss the most on CleanTechnica are smart grids, smart homes, and smart buildings. Others, however, include smart healthcare, smart education, smart transportation, smart security, and smart industry automation.

As one example, to better provide a picture of what these refer to, a smart home (which is simply a subset of the smart buildings category) is a home that “uses various tools to make its inhabitants’ lives easier, more comfortable and more efficient, with a minimal impact on the environment,” as GBI Research writes. For a little more detail, here’s an extended quote:

Smart home technology is the technology used to make all electronic devices around a house act ‘smart’ or more automated. Nearly all major appliances in the future will take advantage of this technology through home networks and the internet. Smart home technology is a way for ordinary electronics and appliances to communicate with each other, consumers, and even manufacturers.

Many consider a smart home to be one that is networked (as in, the different parts and functions of the home are connected through a network), while some define it as a home that has appliances that will allow the consumer to do little to no work in operating them, but the smart home concept includes both of these ideas. Not only will all consumer products be networked, but they will also enable various automated features to increase their ease of use. Smart home technology is currently being developed and implemented for all areas of a household, in particular the kitchen and the living room, including fire security and natural gas leak detectors, and lighting control systems.

As I noted above, we’ve covered smart home technology a bit here on CleanTechnica. For example, our post on five smart home technologies that save you money did quite well; smart domestic appliances were featured in a Leonardo Energy presentation we published on the site – I thought that was quite an interesting presentation; and we wrote about a smart home test in Japan that resulted in a whopping 88 per cent reduction in household power consumption.

From a sample of the GBI Research report, these two charts show projected trends in the smart home market in the coming years (unfortunately, the sample report doesn’t include the actual figures):

Graph for A double take on 'smart' markets

Graph for A double take on 'smart' markets

As you can see above, the smart homes market is expected to approximately double from 2012 to 2017.

Here’s a chart on the smart cities market as a whole:

Graph for A double take on 'smart' markets

This chart indicates a projection for an approximate doubling of the global smart cities market between 2012 and 2017, as well.

Overall, this is a very young but exciting industry, in my opinion. I’m excited to see what comes to market in the coming years aimed at making our technologies, homes, and cities more intelligent.

This article was originally published by CleanTechnica. Republished with permission.

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