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Special report: Two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, driving the market for smart city technologies to $2.5 trillion by 2025 — making it imperative that businesses begin planning  now.

Smart cities presents an attractive market: consumers are becoming more environmentally aware, and tending to cut  wastage and power use. The price of technology is coming down. And the global population is showing no signs of slowing down.

There are a handful of ASX companies poised to capitalise on this ever-growing interest in making our cities smarter. This is partly driven by the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which provide solutions for things like temperature and energy management in buildings — and opens opportunities for smaller players.

The market for IoT smart building technology is expected to pass $US50 billion by 2023, and that’s where small cap ASX players come in. Buddy Platform (ASX:BUD), for instance, believes any building can become a smart building.

“People becoming more environmentally aware impacts their expectations in many ways,” says Buddy chief David McLauchlan.

“If people have real-time awareness about how much energy they are using in their home or office building, for example, they now have data to inform their choices.”

Buddy’s Ohm system, which has been described as ‘Fitbit for buildings’, helps users track environmental data from their spaces so they can understand what’s chewing up energy.

Technology like Buddy’s will be extremely beneficial as more smart cities and buildings pop up around the globe, Mr McLauchlan says.

Buddy last year took part in “Future Street” — a public smart city and street exhibition in the heart of Sydney:

“By connecting devices and systems throughout buildings via the internet, IoT enables a more interactive information system where there was once independently operating parts,” Mr McLauchlan says.

“Cities consume approximately 70 per cent of global energy. The relationship between smart cities and smart building technology is mutually beneficial. Smart city agendas encourage smart buildings market growth, as well as how smart building technologies contribute to smart city goals.

“Imagine a world of increased shared spaces, community engagement, energy efficient and sustainability — these will all be outcomes of smart cities in a decade.

“The potential in improving quality of life from data-driven public health interventions to energy use optimisation to simply saving time with intelligent traffic management is what excited us the most.”

McLauchlan nominates Singapore, New York and Barcelona as three destinations leading the way in their smart city initiatives. So what does Australia have to do to get there?

“There is a lot already happening, encouraged by the government’s Smarter Communities grant program, however local governments in particular are still coming to terms with how they can provide the required services and vendors are still trying to figure out how best to monetise their services and technology,” McLauchlan says.

“There’s an education process that still needs to take place to have a meeting of value and expectations.”

Other companies in the space include smart building material developer ClearVue (ASX:CPV), which is incorporating solar technology into glass and building surfaces to produce renewable energy.

SenSen (ASX:SNS) dreams of more integrated cities, delivering solutions for intelligent transport systems including civic compliance, parking management and speed and toll enforcement. They recently doubled their revenue to a record $4 million. They listed on the ASX last year.

Commuter technology company XTD (ASX:XTD) has a subsidiary named Contact Light — in April this year they signed a collaboration agreement with tech monolith IBM for the global distribution of smart city software solutions.

 

This special report is brought to you by Buddy Platform.

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