IDTechEx looks at the setbacks and explores how to move forward

Bill Gates backed a Belmont smart city in the Arizona desert little has happened beyond a land purchase. Authorities demand that the Colorado river’s diminishing water supply is unharmed. Arizona suffers historic water shortage. The Southwest and much of the West is suffering from an intense 22-year drought, resulting in increasingly low water levels, dry soil, and dry vegetation-fueled wildfires. Reservoirs supplying from the Colorado River are at historic low record levels and estimates are even being made for when that river is no more.

Nonetheless, how to make smart cities in both deserts and the sea must be figured out. IDTechEx provide further insights in their recent report, “Smart Cities Market 2021-2041: Energy, Food, Water, Materials, Transportation Forecasts“.

On the other side of the world, water is not the problem, with the planned Forest City Malaysia to be reclaimed from the sea and enjoy independence in drinking water and zero-emission energy. There the problem is that recent resistance to China threatens the source of finance China. In India, there is a dry laugh about heroic new smart city plans that, years later, result in very little on the ground.

The good news is that ideas have certainly moved on from a smart city being a dystopian world of sensors everywhere and people control by artificial intelligence. A planned smart city in part of Toronto collapsed in the face of robust objection to such secret data gathering and use. Smart cities are primarily about progressing to water, food, and power independence and minimal transport. Many seek 100% electrification off-grid.

Most of the largest existing cities are near the sea or major rivers and are threatened by rising sea levels so the rapid progress with open-water tidal and wave power is significant, as is the plummeting cost of solar. Delightfully, there are now many ways of not only covering solar being dead at night but many viable approaches to a new need – storing huge amounts of electricity seasonally because solar is feeble in winter. The IDTechEx report, “Stationary Energy Storage Without Batteries: Grid, Microgrid, UPS, Trackside 2021-2041” has the details.

Then there is the positive face of smart city projects. Saudi Arabia is consistently pursuing its linear smart city across the desert in its NEOM scheme. The budget of half a trillion dollars has no need for Chinese finance. Food independence has increased credibility with not just meat but milk being grown indoors from animal cells. Indoor hydroponics and its extension to edible fish, not just vegetables, is called aquaponics, another part of the answer. See the IDTechEx reports, “Cultured Meat 2021-2041: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts” and “Plant-Based Meat 2021-2031” for more information on this growing trend.

Add to that the remarkable progress with saline agriculture in the Middle East (think rising sea levels) and at the other extreme of food from deserts. Nanoracks, expert in food creation in space, has just set up a spinoff in the United Arab Emirates called StarLab Oasis, supported by its government. The UAE imports 90% of its food but this business will “grow plants more efficiently in deserts and in space because of the available energy.”

With global warming, by the year 2100, two thirds of the world’s population will be forced to survive in arid regions. 3D printing of affordable houses using desert sand is being demonstrated even useful for planned smart cities on the Moon and Mars. IDTechEx have released a new report, “Concrete and Cement Reinvented: Growing the Market, Decarbonising 2022-2042” with more information.

Let us end by going full circle back to the widening deserts of the USA. Billionaire Marc Lore now plans Telosa. This 150,000-acre sustainable metropolis would be in an American desert with eco-friendly architecture, zero-emission energy independence and a drought-resistant water system. A so-called “15-minute city design” will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools, and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes. Many projects now seek that – ban private cars, use multipurpose robot shuttles that even take the disabled inside buildings and across plazas, maybe free of charge, inclusiveness being a key requirement. Expect 100% city electrification of course.

The modest Toyota Woven City at the foot of Mount Fuji is slowly progressing and symmetrical robot shuttles that never have to do a U turn are being deployed there and these are already seen worldwide, though not yet fully autonomous. Air taxis are also in the mix.

It is a small world. Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is involved in both Telosa USA and Woven City Japan, covered in the IDTechEx reports, “Robot Shuttles for Smart Cities 2021-2041” and “Manned Electric Aircraft: Smart City and Regional 2021-2041“.

Now, Marc Lore needs somewhere to build his large version, along with $400 billion (€344.94 billion) in funding that he plans to get from many sources. He says his possible targets include Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas and the Appalachian region. Smart cities are not discredited. They are essential but still require twists and turns to get there.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow


Connected logistics market to hit $47.6bn valuation by 2029 backed by MaaS for fleet management

Posted on: August 12, 2022

The global connected logistics market stands at a valuation of US$22.2 billion (€21.61 billion) in 2022 and is projected to reach $47.6 billion (€46.34 billion) by the end of 2029. Demand for connected logistics is estimated to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% over the forecast period (2022-2029).

Read more

Despite post-pandemic slump worldwide wearable shipments to reach 344mn by the end of 2022, says ABI

Posted on: August 12, 2022

London, United Kinggdom. 11 August, 2022 – Demand for wearables and accessories slowed during 2021 due to economic and geopolitical factors impacting consumer’s priorities. Yet, despite this decline, global technology intelligence firm ABI Research expects continuous growth from now until 2027.

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox