What are regarded as superior transit and energy strategies have seen Berlin ranked as the leading smart city in Europe in 2023, heading off a top list of continental rivals, according to a study from Juniper Research.
The Smart cities market: growth, trends & market forecasts 2023-2028 report from the expert in the sustainability and internet of things (IoT) market, selected the German capital and cultural stronghold ahead of London, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid. The rankings are made on an evaluation of many different smart city aspects, covering transportation and infrastructure, energy and lighting, city management and technology, and urban connectivity.
The analysis identified Berlin as a leading city due to its focus on improving its transit infrastructure, such as with the mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) app Jelbi, which has unified public and private transit in one app. Berlin was also seen to have taken proactive steps on shared micro-mobility and renewable energy generation, demonstrating a joined-up approach to smart city development.
“Europe, as the birthplace of MaaS, has seen significant development and deployment of the concept over the past few years,” said research co-author Nick Maynard. “As such, transit in leading European smart cities is a central part of future strategies for smart city development – and cities aiming to follow this approach must take a coordinated method to transit, embracing the benefits of MaaS in reducing congestion.”
As it was making its assessment of smart city credentials, Juniper stressed that the potential for reducing emissions is a key driver for smart city deployments, with environmental sentiment running high in Europe. The CO2e emissions saved by smart city deployments in Europe are forecast to reach 247 MMT by 2028, from 161 MMT in 2023. This increase represents growth of 53%, showing the progress smart cities are anticipated to drive over the next five years, according to the report.
However, it added, with cost pressures being prevalent in the European energy sector, governments must focus on strategies enabling both cost reduction and renewable energy deployments, such as greater use of AI in smart grid systems.
In May 2023, Juniper revealed its list of the top five smart cities around the world, which comprised of Shanghai, New York, Toronto, Seoul and Shenzhen.
The Citizen Cloud, a one-stop point for more than 1,000 services for city residents, was seen as a key driver for the Chinese technology hub’s leadership due to it not only providing access to many services for residents, but also what was seen as its strong deployment of 5G and its use of innovative technologies, including digital twins. All of the world’s leading cities were noted to have rolled out services that were effectively harnessing data and connectivity to improve citizen experiences.
The global study also identified the potential cost savings driving smart city deployments, and forecast $249bn by 2028 globally, from $96bn in 2023, representing a growth of 158%.
Such savings are seen as a major driver of smart city deployments, and Juniper predicted they would equate to almost three times the spend on smart city software and hardware by 2028, showing a clear path to return on investment for cities.