A Glimpse Into The Near Future – Smart City Predictions for 2020

What are the Smart City Predictions for 2020?

As time is passing by, awareness about digitalisation between the cities and citizens is increasing. Cities are gradually shifting their focus from technology to people. The year 2019 marked a beautiful period of innovations, collaborations and advancements determined to address the most pressing issues of the current era. 

Now, the shift into a new decade, commencing from 2020 is anticipated to be a period of human upliftment through technology. This is most likely provided the urban space continues working together for its people. 

The UK has found out that the global market for smart cities will reach $400 billion per year by 2020. Which means we’ll hear more about the rise of smart cities and its expansions. The number of driverless cars in cities will increase. As more countries are launching 5G in 2020, more wearable devices and autonomous vehicles will connect to the internet. Along the line, smart home technology will also grow and get more interactive with humans. As per research, the smart home industry will reach $50 billion by 2020.

But the greater predictions for 2020 are yet to unfold, which will drive the bigger change in the economy, the society, and the environment.  

Internet of Things 

Internet of things (IoT) is constantly expanding and will continue to do so in 2020. The deployment of 5G networks will dramatically accelerate the use of connected IoT devices with over 20 billion already predicted. In the approaching year, most of the sectors will integrate IoT into their new techniques and strategies. Two of the important areas include:

Health Industry

As per the Frost and Sullivan, the internet of medical things has the capability to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 26.2% and touch $72,000 million by 2021. In other words, the health sector will adopt more IoT devices. Sensors, medical equipment, portable devices, and health monitors among other medical devices will see rapid growth. A patient care, (especially the elderly) from home will become more common. 


Manufacturing Industry 

IoT will boost processing, management and safety in factories. Sensors will enable managers to diagnose machine problems and handle preventive maintenance. IoT devices will be deployed throughout the supply chain to collect more data and streamline processes. Businesses will rely on industrial IoT applications to design new infrastructure. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) will get closer to humans. As more and more devices will connect across the world, the amount of data collected per second will increase twofold. This will call Big Data to come into action which will further depend on AI for accurate interpretations and analysis. IoT, Big Data and AI will combine for development of innovative applications. The biggest consumers of AI, the US and China have already invested billions in utilising the multifaceted potential of the technology.  

Smart cities will explore better opportunities for training AI into becoming a self-learning system. 2020 will witness the evolution of artificial emotional intelligence. Businesses will be able to detect consumer emotions which will help them boost sales. 

The famous misconception that AI will snatch away human jobs will finally be debunked in 2020. Experts predict that AI will take away about 1.8 million jobs and replace it with approximately 2.3 million jobs. With the increasing efficiency delivered by AI, humans will have better jobs to do with higher compensation. 


2020 - The Year of Blockchain

The growing number of smart devices in cities will pose a greater security threat. Hence, smart cities will heavily focus on securing data by adopting the decentralised system blockchain. 

The conventional method of running IoT is based on a centralised system. Here the data is transmitted from the device to the cloud and then back to the device. As more users will connect to IoT in 2020, such a centralised system will make cybersecurity more vulnerable. 

On the contrary, blockchain being a decentralised and encrypted method of sharing data will prove to be a boom. It will become an essential means of protecting data, recording and sharing it both for technical and compliance purpose. Smart contracts over blockchain will enable IoT connected devices to operate safely. So, the year 2020 is being seen as ‘the year of blockchain.’ 


Cybersecurity is the bullet-proof skin of a smart city. And each IoT device has a significant effect on this protective shield. Malicious players constantly hunting for attacks is increasing. Hacking of IoT device will become more common in 2020. And therefore, smart cities will invest a greater part in reinforcing cybersecurity systems. Improving IoT security, Home security, patient health, and information security will be among the core agenda in the to-do list of smart cities. 

In the effort, advancement in AI and machine learning will evidently help enhance all forms of security systems. AI demonstrates the capability to identify new threats and responding to them. Going ahead, it also helps blocks attacks before they penetrate deeper into the IoT network. The need to improve the IoT security system will rise owing to the complexities of the diverse nature of IoT technology. 

In 2020 and beyond, the destiny of cybersecurity is deemed to be in the hands of AI. 

Disabled-centred Cities 

As per Gartner’s ‘Top 10 strategic predictions for 2020’ and beyond, AI will be an essential tool to enhance accessibility in smart cities. For example, a restaurant in Japan is digging into AI robotics technology to enable paralysed employees to pilot robotic waiters – remotely.

Big giants including Microsoft, JPMorgan, Chase, and Ford are hosting virtual career fairs customised to meet the needs of neurodiverse candidates. And somewhere else, a business initiative called Rent-A-Car integrated braille-reader technology into the reservation system for its blind employees. Likewise, there are many more organisations and smart cities that will work on making workplaces and public places more accessible. 

Furthermore, predictions for 2020 determines how technology is shifting perception towards citizen-centric cities. Gartner says that IT leaders need to be prepared to adapt to a transforming environment. Essential changes are likely to occur in the cultural and technical space of organisation – making the system more accessible. 

Research shows that businesses that actively employ disabled candidates see higher retention rates by 89%. Simultaneously, employee productivity increases by 72% while profitability rises by 29%. In addition, such diversity in employees adds a different approach to work. Disabilities enable humans to work with a unique perspective, especially in product development. As a result, this opens new possibilities of creating products that appeal to a new customer base. 

Connected Communities 

While connected devices is a common thing in smart cities, connected communities will now become the new normal. Connected cities, campuses, enterprises and societies will be at the heart of smart city development in 2020. The forecast is as per NTT Ltd, leading global technology service provider. The company gathered insights from its global customer base. Is prediction looks at technology trends for the coming twelve months and beyond.

Moreover, anticipation shows that as per the predictions for 2020, the year will lead to the creation of connected environments capable of running themselves autonomously. Development of more intelligent cities, businesses and workplaces will happen in a secure ecosystem. In the creation of connected communities, AI and data will play a pivotal role. Disruptive technologies will support the enhancement of productivity, growth and innovation across complete live, work and play environments.

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John Marwel


Within this program, we can deliver to governments and cities the possibility of implementing Smart City projects from idea (vision) to the final stage of implementation.

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