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COVID-19 to Accelerate Adoption of Technology-Enabled Smart Cities Resilience Approaches

| May 5, 2020

Robotics, Digital Twins, and Autonomous Freight

City governments are adjusting to a new reality, with COVID-19 driving urban resilience and digital transformation strategy agendas, finds global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research. This is reflected in the deployment of a range of technologies for new use cases during the current emergency:

  • Drones – Communication and enforcement of social distancing rules; delivery of medical supplies
  • New types of surveillance – AI-based remote temperature sensing (Kogniz Health)
  • Autonomous freight – Autonomous last mile delivery (Beep, Navya, Nuro, Waymo, Postmates)
  • Digital Twins – Holistic, transversal, real-time visibility for resources, assets, and services (Siradel)
  • Real-time dashboards (City of Boston) and data sharing including the use of smartphone data crowdsourcing for location tracking

“While many of the measures taken by city governments during COVID-19 are decided on the fly requiring high levels of improvisation, it has resulted in a rich laboratory type learning experience in terms of how to take advantage of the inherent flexibility of technologies to address emergency situations and challenges linked to demand-response management of assets and services,” says Dominique Bonte, Vice President End Markets at ABI Research. “This will have a lasting impact, coming out of COVID-19 during and after the drawn-out recovery period, in the form of a step change in how resilience is approached  and generalized, allowing to prepare better for future calamities, a distinct silver lining on a very dark COVID-19 cloud.”

At the same time cities are reaping the benefits of a digital only lifestyle in the form of the sudden adoption of e-Government services, e-Health and teleconsultation, remote work, online education, and e-Commerce resulting in huge drops in traffic levels. These, in turn, are dramatically decreasing congestion, fatalities, and air pollution. Importantly, post-COVID-19 traffic levels are expected to only reach between 80% and 90% of the pre-COVID-19 levels, as digital lifestyles take hold more permanently, driven by both public and private initiatives and incentives. The result will have lasting positive effects on the environment.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Smart Cities and Smart Spaces Quarterly Update report. This report is part of the company’s Smart Cities and Smart Spaces research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights.

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