ESI ThoughtLab launches project to assess smart city ROI

Research company creates coalition to measure return on investment of smart projects in 100 cities worldwide

ESI ThoughtLab will lead a study to better understand the value of smart city projects around the globe.
ESI ThoughtLab will lead a study to better understand the value of smart city projects around the globe.

A new research initiative from ESI ThoughtLab will aim to assess the return on investment of smart cities.

The thought leadership and economic research firm has formed a coalition of organisations to conduct research into the ROI of smart city programs of 100 leading cities around the world.

The initiative, Building a Hyperconnected City: Business models, use cases, and benchmarks behind high performance, will conduct research over the next eight months and present the results at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona in November.

The study will benchmark participating cities, assess investment and ROI in key city spheres, measure the impact of emerging technologies, and create a cost-benefit model of smart city investments.

ESI ThoughtLab said that the study aims to create a playbook that will help urban leaders identify the technologies and data solutions that will provide the greatest social, economic, and business benefits to citizens and companies.

“Businesses and residents around the world are embracing technological innovation faster than many cities can react. With digital change happening in hyper-speed, urban leaders need to act now to bridge the technology gap between their cities and stakeholders,” said Lou Celi, CEO of ESI ThoughtLab. “But to make this happen, city leaders need rigorous analysis on the smart investments and practices that will drive the best economic, business, and social outcomes.”

The coalition formed by ESI ThoughtLab consists of companies including Deloitte, Oracle, Eaton Lighting, NTT Group, Stantec, Pennoni, Nokia, Cognizant, and Visa; and research institutions such as the Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER), the Penn Institute of Urban Research, the IESE Business School Cities in Motion, MetroLab Network, Viable Cities, the Smart Cities Council, Renaissance Urbaine, ANBOUND, the Re-Imagining Cities Foundation, and others.

The coalition members will work with ESI ThoughtLab’s own team to conduct the research program, including indepth interviews with city leaders.

“By drawing on the data and resources of our coalition of corporate and research partners, as well as city benchmarking participants, we aim to deliver a concrete roadmap to becoming a smart city,” said Dr. Daniel Miles, ESI ThoughtLab’s Chief Economist and Research Manager for the program.

The study will include cities of different size and levels of economic development, and ESI ThoughtLab will develop a database of data from the cities and other sources to act as a resource.

The research will include analysis of smart city investments and returns in all parts of a city’s ecosystem, including mobility and transportation, energy and the environment, IT infrastructure and telecoms, water and waste management, buildings and infrastructure, safety and health, and talent and education.

The study also includes measurement of performance impacts from the use of emerging technologies, including AI, blockchain, IoT, cloud, open platforms, 5G, data warehouses/lakes, mobile apps, virtual and augmented reality, and drones and robots.

Bespoke cost-benefit models that quantify the impact and payback period of smart city investments will be created for initiatives across the urban ecosystem.

Follow us on

Most Popular