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Massive smart cities growth coming this year

Global spending on smart cities initiatives will total nearly $124-billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to a new forecast

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A new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide shows global spending on smart cities initiatives will total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019. The top 100 cities investing in smart initiatives in 2019 represented around 29% of global spending, and while growth will be sustained among the top spenders in the short term, the market is quite dispersed across midsize and small cities investing in relatively small projects.

“This new release of IDC’s Worldwide Smart Cities Spending Guide brings further expansion of our forecasts into smart ecosystems with the addition of smart ports alongside smart stadiums and campus,” said Serena Da Rold, program manager in IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis group. “The Spending Guide also provides spending data for more than 200 cities and shows that fewer than 80 cities are investing over $100 million per year. At the same time, around 70% of the opportunity lies within cities that are spending $1 million or less per year. There is a great opportunity for providers of smart city solutions who are able to leverage the experience gained from larger projects to offer affordable smart initiatives for small and medium sized cities.”

In 2019, use cases related to resilient energy and infrastructure represented over one third of the opportunity, driven mainly by smart grids. Data-driven public safety and intelligent transportation represented around 18% and 14% of overall spending respectively.

Looking at the largest use cases, smart grids (electricity and gas combined) still attract the largest share of investments, although their relative importance will decrease over time as the market matures and other use cases become mainstream. Fixed visual surveillance, advanced public transportation, intelligent traffic management, and connected back office follow, and these five use cases together currently represent over half of the opportunity. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast are vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, digital twin, and officer wearables.

Singapore will remain the top investor in smart cities initiatives. Tokyo will be the second largest spender in 2020, driven by investments for the Summer Olympics, followed by New York City and London. These four cities will each see smart city spending of more than $1 billion in 2020.

On a regional basis, the United States, Western Europe, and China will account for more than 70% of global smart cities spending throughout the forecast. Latin America and Japan will experience the fastest growth in smart cities spending in 2020.

“Regional and municipal governments are working hard to keep pace with technology advances and take advantage of new opportunities in the context of risk management, public expectations, and funding needs to scale initiatives,” said Ruthbea Yesner, vice president of IDC Government Insights and Smart Cities and Communities. “Many are moving to incorporate Smart City use cases into budgets, or financing efforts through more traditional means. This is helping to grow investments.”

IDC’s Worldwide Smart Cities Spending Guide quantifies the expected technology opportunity around smart cities initiatives from a regional and worldwide level. Spending data is available for nine regions with 36 distinct use cases across five strategic priorities and eight technology categories. In addition, the spending guide offers a complementary Cities dataset, providing smart city spending for 207 cities across nine regions. The spending guide is designed to provide IT vendors with insights into this rapidly growing market and how the market will develop over the five-year forecast period.

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving

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For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com

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Coronavirus to hit 5G

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Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
5G19199
Rest of Market13941165
Total14131364
 
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
5G1%15%
Rest of Market99%85%
Total100%100%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.

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