The Top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020
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The future of cities is critical to the future of the global economy, given that they now account for more than half of the world’s population and more than 80% of global GDP. Cities around the world have very similar struggles and objectives: ensuring a competitive economy, a sustainable environment, and a high quality of life for their citizens. We look at the  trends for cities in 2020 from the lens of data, mobility, energy, public safety, and jobs.

This article presents the top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020 and the related technology markets. It draws on the latest data from the global Ecosystm IoT Study that is live and ongoing on the Ecosystm platform and based on qualitative analysis by Ecosystm Board Advisor Randeep Sudan and Ecosystm Principal Analyst Sash Mukherjee.


The top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020

Here are the top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020 that we believe will impact governments, businesses and citizens in 2020:

  1. The Emergence of Data Smart Cities

The global economy is fast becoming digital, and data is at the very heart of a growing digital economy. Cities are increasingly adopting Data Smart strategies, a trend that will dominate the market in 2020.

Data Smart strategies focus on addressing data silos and making data available across organisational boundaries for better decision making. They expand the availability of data through real-time capture with the help of IoT devices and leverage the power and promise of data by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics. Singapore is an excellent example of how Data Smart cities are designing their data strategies. Singapore‘s data governance framework includes the concept of Single Sources of Truth (SSOT) – where all government stakeholders have access to the same data. To make access easier, there are data aggregators, the Trusted Centers (TCs).  Not only has the Government thought out the data aggregation and management angle, but also of digital enablers for the use of AI, including a code repository for AI and platform for the rapid development of AI-based solutions.

  1. Intelligent Infrastructure for Smart Mobility

Traffic congestion and pollution have become an inevitable by-product of urbanisation, especially with the rise of individually owned cars. Several cities across the world have tried wide-ranging initiatives such as road space rationing and congestion pricing.  However, the success of these initiatives will lie with intelligent infrastructure and smart enforcement.

2020 will see several cities making investments in demand-responsive services, where public transportation systems can respond in real-time to the changing traffic needs of the city rather than run on predetermined routes and schedules. There will also be a rise in the number of transport options, including mass transit, car-sharing, bike-sharing, ride-sharing, and personal mobility devices.

  1. Smart Energy Ecosystem

Urbanisation will see higher energy costs, and a fierce competition for resources. Smart Cities are actively focusing on smarter energy options that focus on reducing energy consumption, lowering emissions, and providing better service and support to consumers.

The Energy & Utilities industry has been the first adopters of Smart Energy solutions and as they introduce smart meters for the consumers, they open the market up. The initiatives range from promoting a greener environment, expanding the use of renewable energy, and introducing ‘smart’ solutions to utility providers, enterprises, and homes.They can also help Energy and Utilities companies to comply with government regulations and meet sustainability and carbon emission goals. On the consumer side, going forward, the Construction industry is expected to be the frontrunner in promoting energy efficiency, with increasing uptake of Smart Building solutions.

  1. The Rise of the Gig Economy

All Cities of the Future need to prepare for the workforce of the future. The gig economy will have a huge number of part-time, contract workers and freelance workers. This trend will only go up as more millennials and the Gen Z enter the workforce. They will force organisations to innovate and make employee experience a key business priority.

Simultaneously, there has been a steep rise in the sharing economy, seeing peer-to-peer (P2P) economic activities, based primarily on providing a service or sharing access to goods and services. Community-based online platforms are on the rise, and several industries – such as financial services, hospitality, and retail – are being disrupted in both mature and emerging economies.

  1. Increased Use of AI in Public Safety

In this world of hyper-surveillance, cities use CCTV cameras for multiple reasons ranging from traffic monitoring, remote asset tracking, and crime prevention. Airports and police departments have been actively using facial recognition. They have also been experimenting with advanced video analytics that can identify persons of interest through other parameters such as gait.

Surveillance is not the only use of AI in governments. Predictive analytics is being used by police departments and the judiciary, for risk assessment and crime reduction. AI for process optimisation also impacts public safety. While discussions and debates on ethics will be rampant, most governments will invest in AI for public safety.


Ecosystm in partnership with SGInnovate, the government-backed organisation that promotes Deep Tech in Singapore, released a series of four reports covering areas of mutual interest: Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Cities of the Future and Healthtech.

‘Ecosystm Predicts: The Top 5 Cities of the Future Trends for 2020’ report is a part of this collaboration and is available for download from Ecosystm and SGInnovate websites.


Download Report: The Top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020

The full findings and implications of the report ‘Ecosystm Predicts: The Top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020’ are available for download from the Ecosystm platform. Signup for Free to download the report and gain insight into ‘Top 5 Cities of the Future trends for 2020’, implications for tech buyers, implications for tech vendors, insights, and more resources. Download Link Below ?

Top 5 Cities of the Future Trends for 2020


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Ecosystm’s Insights and Analyst team working across multiple Analysts and Industry Leaders.

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