Home / Community / Smart Cities of the Future: Top 13 Disruptive Technology

Smart Cities of the Future: Top 13 Disruptive Technology

by | Jun 27, 2022 | Community

Last Updated on August 30, 2022

Imagine growing up in a metropolis that is constantly creating and innovating to meet the need of each citizen. A utopian city that boasts an equitable economy and improved experiences for residents, businesses, institutions, and government agencies. In a city where every individual enjoys clean water and pure air as a basic right.

In a city where the digital divide is no longer a crippling one, budgets are not swallowed by failing outdated infrastructure, and public safety and cybersecurity aren’t luxuries but expectations. A city that uses technology as a tool to improve every aspect of its operation. Everywhere around the world, policymakers are trying to make this utopian vision a reality.

Major efforts are underway to implement technology to improve efficiency and life in urban areas. Entirely new metropolitan have been designed to revolve around tech. Cities are getting smarter and more connected by the year. But why?

What is a smart city?

A smart city is one that collects a large amount of operational and urban activity data from sensors and the internet of things. The data is processed by artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer insight into the city’s performance.

The insights gained from the data help to optimize city operations, manage resources and improve the quality of life of its citizens. But it is not just about using information for city management, a smart city has many characteristics such as:

  • Smart building
  • Smart infrastructure
  • Smart mobility
  • Smart power grid
  • Smart energy
  • Smart security
  • Smart water management
  • Smart waste management
  • Smart community
  • Smart health
  • Smart governance
  • Smart economy
  • Smart citizens
  • Smart living
  • Smart space
  • Smart home
  • Smart office

Smart city solutions improve transportation systems, provide better education, good jobs, and quality healthcare, and sustain their own food production. Moreover, city authorities know everything from people smoking in prohibited zones to littering in high-rise housing.

Smart city technology effectively monitors crowd density, and cleanliness of public spaces, regulates traffic, saves energy, reduces wastage, and fights crime, all assisted by sensors and big data.

Why do we need smart city?

Today more than ever cities are defining the future. Around 56.2% of the world population lives in urban areas because it is a productive place that allows for sustainable growth and innovation.

Cities are considered innovation, employment, creativity, finance, business, education, and development hub where people can thrive and improve their quality of life. But more importantly, it stimulates economies and accounts for more than 80% of global GDP.

Urban areas also provide jobs, quality healthcare, better education, improve quality of life, and a higher standard of living. But all this has a cost. Even if cities cover only 1% of the earth’s surface, they are heavy polluters and consumers.

They are at the epicenter of climate change and global warming since they are heavy contributors to these crises. To keep its activity up and running, our concrete jungles consume 75% of the global energy generated and account for 70% of global carbon emissions.

Cities are challenged by a growing population and it is estimated that by 2050 the world will have 10 billion people, 68% of which will be town dwellers. With the growing population, urban authorities are having difficulty meeting the needs of citizens.

The ever-increasing city dwellers need food, water, access to resources, and basic necessities. Metropolis has always provided easy access to food, jobs, resources, education, and healthcare but at a cost.

The exponential growth in urbanization is making urban areas struggle to provide basic services to citizens as we are heading toward scarcity of resources. Moreover, cities produce an enormous amount of waste, air pollution, and sewage as well as consume a lot of water.

Water and waste management are very essential for a city’s livability but they are costly endeavors and often taken for granted. Waste management is expensive and often comprises up to 20 – 50% of a municipal budget in developing countries.

Over 90% of wastes are burned openly or disposed of in unregulated landfills in developing countries. Furthermore, the lack of treatment facilities resulted in sewages being spewed into cities’ waterways.

Untreated sewage being poured into cities’ waterways creates foul odor, toxic chemicals, and bread germs and further worsens the water crisis. Moreover, the water crisis we are facing is mostly due to inefficient use, leakage, and lack of infrastructure maintenance leading to wastage.

To make matters worse, urban areas are densely populated and at the heart of climate change, subject to global warming, and vulnerable to natural disasters. Since 1880, human activity has risen the earth’s temperature by 1.1 degrees, and experts say it should not exceed 1.5 degrees otherwise the consequences will be disastrous.

Cities are also faced with a lot of political, economic, poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and social problems. As the world population continues to grow and urban areas continue to expand, it has become increasingly vital to find better ways of managing citizens’ needs and services requirement.

So the question is how to develop an infrastructure that improves citizens’ quality of life, manages resources efficiently, sustains economic development, and integrates more renewable energy sources so that we can reduce city environmental impacts.

Technology is already making our life better and easier. Cities’ authorities and planners have realized that to take on the big challenges that civilization is facing, cities are the place to leverage big problems and bring them down. And the best way to do it is by using technology

Everything around us is all about connections. Everything is connected, the internet is linking us everywhere in the globe to facilitate trade, information, and communication, hence the idea of embedding technology in an entire metropolis.

The idea is to optimize and tweak towns to increase efficiency, improved quality of life, manage resources and save lots of money. Smart city is about harnessing information and communications technology to develop smart applications that make day-to-day living more comfortable and create a sustainable city.

Technology of smart city

To create smarter cities, a wide variety of innovations, hardware, software, and more importantly connectivity is needed. It is estimated that by 2030, the smart city market size will reach more than USD 7,162.5 billion.

Moreover, in 2020, technology spending on smart city initiatives was valued at USD 124 billion and it is projected to reach USD 189.5 billion by 2030. Smart city technology, service, and product revenue were valued at USD 129 billion by 2021. Hence these are the main technology for smart cities of the future:


Connectivity is the backbone of a smart city. While the future of connected urban areas is far from being settled, the advent of 5G will allow for more innovations to be made.

5G will power the smart cities of the future by providing more reliable and faster connections for devices and infrastructure. It will also reduce latency which is very important when dealing with data. Latency is the time data takes to travel from one place to another.

The idea behind a smart metropolis is that it should be able to provide its citizens with all the necessary services from transportation to energy, education, healthcare, public safety, and many others in an efficient and sustainable way. 5G will be a key technology behind this new urban paradigm.

Moreover, 5G network will enable the development of new devices and software platforms, as well as complex analytics. For example, 5G can enable the deployment of smart meters which monitor energy consumption and adjust prices accordingly based on current demand.

While 5G is yet to become widespread, its deployment will massively enhance infrastructure and will enable new technologies, innovation, and better connectivity.

As we prepare for the 5G age, it’s time to begin thinking about how this technology can help us build smarter cities. Cities are built to improve business and citizens’ lives by leveraging data and 5G will be an important technology to help achieve these goals.

However, 5G will require a significant investment, as it will require dense networks of small cells instead of macro cell towers. It will be the catalyst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution turning it into industry 5.0, which the World Economic Forum estimates will generate USD 13.2 trillion in global economic value by 2035.

According to Deloitte, 5G is expected to bring a lot of economic and social benefits to smart cities. Moreover, 5G in smart city market value is expected to reach USD 104.8 billion by 2026 and 5G IoT market value is expected to reach USD 40.2 billion by 2026. According to BusinessWire, the market size of 5G in smart cities will reach USD 121.5 billion by 2027.

According to Globenewswire, 5G technology will improve management and offer intelligent public services in smart communities. Smart city applications will work together in an integrated system and enable new uses for 5G. The 5G market size will reach USD 1.67 trillion by 2030.

And the advent of 6G will enable more use cases, increase the number of services and escalate the complexity of those services. While satellite internet will provide internet access to everybody.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technological revolution enabling multiple devices to gather information from various sources in the digital city. This information is then transmitted to a central cloud, where it is processed, mined, and interpreted for decision-making and pattern recognition.

The IoT is a network of physical objects that are embedded with electronics, software, and sensors, which allows these objects to collect and exchange data.

IoT already has profound impacts on the way we live and work. In a digital city, it can be used to monitor the environment and predict problems before they occur, which makes the city more efficient and comfortable. The healthcare sector is already benefiting from it, with the likes of Internet of Medical Things and Remote Patient Monitoring.

The global IoT market was valued at USD 384.70 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 478.36 billion in 2022. A CAGR of 26.4% is expected from 2022 to 2029, thus the market size will reach USD 2,465.26 billion by 2029.

According to PRNewswire, demand for IoT services has increased during the past couple of years and rising government interest in smart city initiatives is a key contributor to the IoT market. IoT in smart cities was valued at USD 112 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 735 billion by 2030.

To realize the potential of internet of things in future cities, IoT companies need to invest in infrastructure to support 5G networks. Investing in these networks will give IoT companies the necessary tools to make their services more useful to city residents.

Governments also need to support the building of 5G networks and provide incentives to the telecom industry. The more IoT companies can innovate, the better it is for everyone. It will allow infrastructure to communicate with each other through data.

And with more connected devices and smart infrastructure, IoT will give rise to the Internet of Everything (IoE). With IoT, metropolis can save both time and money, reduce traffic and air pollution, and even lower energy bills.

And with more data being generated each day, the Internet of Behavior (IoB) will play a significant role in enhancing people’s quality of life. Ultimately, smart cities can increase efficiency and boost citizen satisfaction.

The internet of things is the next step in the evolution of the Internet. It is an emerging technology that will have an impact on every aspect of our lives. It will change how we work, how we live, how we travel, how we govern, and how we interact with each other.

Geospatial technology (GIS)

Geospatial technology is a key component of smart city technology. It helps in the development of infrastructure, transportation, and even the management of natural resources.

Geospatial technology provides a unique way to understand how urbanization is changing the world. It provides valuable information on how people live and work in different parts of the world.

The rise in geo-technologies has been driven by the need for better understanding and managing our rapidly changing environment. GIS helps to collect and analyze spatial data and maps and can also integrate cultural and environmental data.

GIS multidimensional modeling capabilities enable planners to make informed decisions in real-time. Geospatial technology helps make smart city planning easier by linking data about different aspects of a city and its residents.

Geospatial technology in smart cities can make urban infrastructure more reliable and help improve security and reduce costs. It also has the potential to transform cities into smarter, more connected communities.

It will be crucial in making a city truly “smart” and more efficient. The use of geospatial technology in smart cities enables urban planners to integrate cultural and physical information to create a more sustainable city.

The concept of smart cities is gaining popularity and geospatial technology will be a critical component in them since it makes citizen participation more effective and productive. The spatial analysis market is expected to reach USD 107.8 billion by 2026.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an important role in the development of smart cities of the future. With the help of AI, cities are becoming more efficient and sustainable. Some companies are using AI for their own purposes such as reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

Artificial intelligence is important because it can process large amounts of information that are generated from sensors and the internet of things. The processed data provide insight into the city’s operations and activities.

The insight gained can help increase cities’ efficiency, provide personalized services, optimize operations and improve resource management. With the information, AI can also to some extent predict the occurrence of future events.

Moreover, AI can compare actual data with past one to provide predictive analysis. The use of artificial intelligence in smart cities has many applications, including enhanced traffic management, better energy distribution networks, and smart buildings.

Artificial intelligence is used to help reduce congestion with traffic lights that analyze real-time data. Other applications of AI in future city include permanent surveillance cameras, anti-panic systems, and facial identification.

Furthermore, AI improves utility systems and resource management. Artificial Intelligence can help prioritize emergency service calls by using data about citizens who make emergency calls.

Ultimately, the use of AI in a digital metropolis will improve the efficiency of resource management and the quality of life of citizens, while also ensuring that the residents enjoy a better lifestyle.

While it is only now that AI is entering urban areas, it has already seen widespread application in our daily life. It is only a matter of time before it becomes widespread across city infrastructure.

The global market size of artificial intelligence is expected to reach USD 1,581.70 billion by 2030. And the market size of AI in smart cities is expected to reach USD 298 billion by 2027.

Big Data

As the digitization process has become a part of our lives, we have amassed vast amounts of information. Today’s data has become crucial for effective decision-making in the business and service domains, including smart cities.

Big data is an important factor in the development of a smart city of the future. It provides insights into how to improve urban operations and services. It also provides insight into how to manage and maintain resources more efficiently.

Furthermore, big data can provide insights into how to improve urban operations, activities, and services, as well as information on how to manage and maintain resources more efficiently.

Big data and the Internet of Things are both critical to an intelligent city. They enable smart city technologies to better manage and improve the community’s livability and improve citizens’ lives.

Internet users generated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. The equivalent of 1.7 megabytes of data is generated every second per person. These data use to gain insight to deliver better services. The world will generate 181 zettabytes of data by 2025.

With the use of information technologies such as cloud computing, edge computing, data analytics, and Augmented Intelligence, cities of the future can become smarter than ever before by processing the large amount of data we are generating.

Big data is the most important part of cities’ evolution. Smart cities of the future gather large amounts of data from multiple points which urban planners can use to make more efficient decisions. Ultimately, big data will improve the lives of smart city citizens.

Based on data, resources such as water and energy are used more sustainably, mobility is improved and cities become safer. The market size of big data in smart cities is expected to reach USD 800 billion by 2026.

Edge and Cloud computing

Cloud and edge computing are very important because they deliver processing power to smart city infrastructure. Cloud computing provides storage, and process data to deliver services more efficiently.

Cloud computing is important because it provides storage space for the massive amount of information that is generated. Data that are sent to cloud servers are used for analysis to improve the efficiency of the public and private sectors.

Edge computing allows for intelligent and responsive deployment of smart city applications. It allows data to be processed on the edge of the network.

Edge computing is used to deliver in-house processing power to trigger immediate action which significantly reduces latency and response time. While cloud computing is used for data storage and analysis.

Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on shared resources, such as data centers, servers, computer networks, and the Internet. Most of the time these computation resources are afar thus increasing response time and latency.

Edge computing is a computing paradigm that was introduced to solve the issue of latency by providing computing power in place on the edge.

Vertical farms

Despite technological progress in agriculture, the sector is one of the biggest polluters on our planet. The agriculture sector consumes 70% of the world’s portable water, plows large acres of land, uses a lot of chemicals, and emits a lot of greenhouse gases.

Moreover, food has to travel long distances before reaching its final destination. With 70% of the ever-increasing population expected to live in cities by 2050, these people will have to eat. Hence food production will have to increase while reducing its impact on the environment.

As more people are seeking ways to reduce waste and increase energy efficiency, vertical farms are making waves across the world. They can provide fresh produce to local residents and businesses with a positive contribution to the environment.

Vertical farming is the process of growing veggies indoors on vertically stacked shelve using technology. This technology can grow acre’s worth of produce in a warehouse using fewer resources such as water and energy.

Vertical farms have the potential to produce more food per square foot than traditional agriculture methods because they can be stacked on top of each other instead of spreading out horizontally across acres of land.

Turning cities into vertical farms is an innovative way to grow crops and produce food with the use of technology. It is a sustainable way to grow food in urban areas.

Vertical farming has many benefits for the environment and for the people living in the metropolis. It can help reduce food miles, save on transportation costs, and reduce pollution from transportation.

Digital technologies are used to optimize growing conditions and reduce the use of water, energy, fertilizers, and pesticides. These innovations are aligned with established sustainability discourses and the utility of digital interventions in the food and farming industry.

Furthermore, it is a great option for urban environments because it requires very little land. Vertical farming systems can be placed in warehouses, shipping containers, or inside a building.

Vertical farming is an important feature of smart city initiatives to produce fresh produce without the need for soil. It also uses less water than traditional farms because crops don’t need to be irrigated.

Moreover, it does not require heavy machinery for harvesting, and foods are produced locally thus reducing transportation. The market size of vertical farms is expected to grow from USD 4.12 billion in 2021 to reach USD 31.15 billion by 2030.

Smart building

A smart building is a building designed to be more energy efficient and sustainable. It is equipped with the latest technology to make it easier for people to work as well as optimize resource use within the building.

The term “smart” refers to the use of sensors, software, and other technologies that can help buildings operate more efficiently. These technologies can help reduce energy consumption, improve indoor air quality, and increase worker productivity.

A smart building uses IoT devices to collect and process data from different elements of a building. It enables buildings to be more energy efficient, reduce energy costs, improve accessibility, and increase the safety of the occupants.

Smart buildings are sustainable and complement the concept of smart cities. The use of smart buildings can reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life for the citizens of a city.

Furthermore, smart buildings are the way forward for many public and private sectors, which are looking to reduce their environmental impact while improving their overall performance. It is also a major step toward the quest for carbon neutrality.

The integration of smart buildings in smart city is a key because it uses technology to improve security, and comfort, and optimize resource usage. Intelligent building systems are able to provide real-time feedback on occupant comfort and productivity levels.

While traditional buildings have been around for hundreds of years, smart buildings are starting to evolve to meet the demands of the modern world. The global smart building market is expected to reach USD 131.5 billion by 2027.

Machine learning

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. It is a type of predictive analytics, which uses past information to predict future trends.

Machine learning is a key part of the data-driven decision-making process of smart cities. It is used to process and interpret information from various sources to provide insight into operations for better decision-making.

Moreover, machine learning can be applied to various areas in the city such as transportation, water management, energy use, and healthcare. It is used to identify patterns in large datasets. Machine learning can create predictive models to provide useful insight into future events and trends.

Digital twins

Digital twins are digital representations of a physical object, system, or process. They are used to monitor and analyze the performance of assets in real-time.

Digital twins are used to improve the performance as well as predicts future behaviors of the asset being tested. Moreover, it provides a simulation of a physical system for better understanding, testing, and debugging purposes.

Its use in smart cities provides insight into how people use the system hence city planners can know where improvement is needed. Digital twins can be used in future city to monitor and control the urban’s infrastructure. For example, they can be used to monitor traffic congestion and provide real-time updates on traffic conditions.

Furthermore, digital twins can be used in smart cities to monitor and predict the behavior of systems such as traffic lights, water pipes, power grids, etc. The market size of digital twins is growing exponentially.

The market size was estimated at USD 6.75 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 8.88 billion in 2022. A CAGR increase of 40.6% from 2022 to 2029 is expected. Hence the market value will reach USD 96.49 billion by 2029.


While technology and its integration in urban areas can greatly improve the way we live, the future of smart cities is not yet certain. There are many hurdles such as cybersecurity and resident trust in the digital infrastructure that need to be overcome.

A hacker can wreak havoc by manipulating just a single person’s phone or computer, now just imagine if the information of millions of people were hacked. To scale this technology, city leaders must focus on achieving trust and the confidence of citizens.

For instance, a ransomware attack can lock down municipal networks and computer systems until large payments are made. Furthermore, ransomware attacks can capture sensitive personal information from citizens, including video footage of their activities.

Increasing cyber threats are creating opportunities for criminals to exploit existing city infrastructures to target citizens and businesses. Future cities should prioritize transparency, digital trust, and data privacy. Ensuring cybersecurity in smart cities is paramount.

In addition, the growth of IoT technologies is creating an environment that makes personal data vulnerable. The IoT is a network of connected devices. The problem here is that hackers can break into the most vulnerable device to gain access to the whole system.

Establishing secure endpoints is a necessary step to protect information. Smart city of the future will have to adjust their priorities to protect their citizens’ data. Although the convenience of smart cities is enticing, officials must weigh the risks of increased cybersecurity with the advantages of better operations.

Smart city leaders need to be vigilant about cybersecurity because of the increasing number of cyberattacks. Digital security must be a top priority. And strict regulations must be established to keep citizens’ information safe.

Every server on the internet is prone to be hacked. The risk is real and there is an even bigger risk known as cyberwarfare which can bring down every infrastructure system.

The cybersecurity market was valued at USD 139.77 billion in 2021. A CAGR of 13.4% is expected from 2022 to 2029. The market size is forecasted to reach USD 376.32 billion by 2029.

Autonomous vehicles

An autonomous vehicle is a vehicle that can drive itself without any human input. A study reveals that 94% of road accidents are due to human errors. An autonomous vehicle is an approach to reducing the number of accidents and fatalities on the road.

Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. They are being developed to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. They will be safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly than human-driven cars.

Autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly prevalent in smart city initiatives. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as providing transportation, delivering goods, and providing guidance.

Using autonomous vehicles in smart cities is a promising strategy for reducing the negative environmental impact of transportation. injuries and road congestion. Autonomous vehicles can also improve traffic flow and spatial efficiency.

These self-driving cars can coordinate with other vehicles and platoon to improve spatial efficiency and reduce congestion. The positive effects on congestion may depend on the platoon’s length and the degree of cooperation among AVs.

Advanced vehicle sensors and real-time cloud-based data will enable autonomous vehicles to navigate roads and cities more safely. These vehicles can be programmed to follow rules for maximum efficiency.

Achieving this level of precision requires a vast array of sensors such as Lidar and data. These sensors generate large amounts of data that can be used by computer algorithms to predict the future behavior of vehicles.

To achieve these results, connected vehicles need reliable high-speed computing platforms and effective machine-learning algorithms. The data collected from connected vehicles will enable developers to create applications to improve traffic flow and road safety. Accurate real-time localization of vehicles will enable autonomous vehicles to avoid accidents and maximize efficiency.


Blockchain is the underlying technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. It is a digital ledger that records transactions in chronological order, making it nearly impossible to tamper with data.

This technology has been used for years to power cryptocurrency transactions and has now been discovered as a key component of the smart city economy.

Additionally, blockchain also provides a secure immutable infrastructure and a private environment for citizens. The blockchain-distributed approach is highly secure, publicly available, and difficult to hack which increases transparency and network security.

It can help make public services more efficient and transparent, letting citizens access information about their government with ease. It can also help make electric grids by reducing the need for human intervention.

Many governments are implementing smart city technologies with the consideration of blockchain. With the advent of big data, governments and researchers have been investigating ways to integrate blockchain into their current workflows.

Blockchain will enable different cities to interconnect. By leveraging smart city technology powered by blockchain, this will increase efficiency and promote social inclusion while protecting privacy.

Final words

With smart city technologies, city leaders can use energy more efficiently and reduce the amount of money on resources. Smart energy meters, for example, can inform citizens about how much they’re wasting and incentivize people to cut back on their usage.

Smart streetlights, meanwhile, can be adjusted to reflect changing demand. Further, smart cities also offer real-time data collection. By analyzing data from city operations and activities, city officials can gain insight into city performance.

Technology will make urban areas more accessible to citizens. It is estimated that cities of the future will save nearly USD 19 billion every year by becoming smart.

But of course to save money, sometimes you have to first spend it first. The global smart city market is expected to reach USD 6,9 trillion by 2030 a CAGR of 24.2% from 2021 to 2030. So now many companies are aiming for a piece of it.

But it is important to consider that these new systems may also hurt a proportion of the citizens. Those lacking in technology skills and capacity may find themselves left out of the smart city revolution.

So it is important to consider everybody while implementing each technology infrastructure. The future of smart cities is coming and governments must adapt to stay ahead of the curve. They must continually innovate and find creative solutions.

The smart cities of the future will be fully automated, with robotic systems playing an integral role in everything from waste collection and navigation to surveillance and control.

Some of the smart city technology also create new questions about transparency and governance and accelerate the debate over the future of employment in cities. But it will also present new business opportunities and make people’s lives easier. Smart cities will be the foundation of the digital revolution in urban areas.