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Open wireless standards could save smart cities 30% on tech costs


Open standards used to deploy Internet of Things (IoT) technology could cut costs by 30% and accelerate the growth of smart cities, according to a new research report.

Machina Research estimated that cities around the world deploying smart tech for traffic and water control and other systems could spend $1.12 trillion by 2025 with currently-available technology, much of it proprietary. With widespread use of open wireless standards like Bluetooth Low Energy and OneM2M, those costs could be reduced by $341 billion, down to $781 billion.

In addition, Machina estimated that using standards-based IoT would yield a 27% increase in the number of connected devices in smart cities by 2025, which could then improve the adoption of smart city apps.

The 16-page Machina research report is available online, with registration. It includes brief descriptions of many emerging IoT standards.

“Open standards can [ensure] money is invested more efficiently and dramatically accelerate IoT adoption and growth,” said Jeremy Green, Machina analyst and author of the report. Machina provides market research and strategic guidance on M2M and IoT.

Reliance on open standards should seem obvious, but experts said it has been difficult for cities to compare their technology decisions, much less make IoT systems interoperate. Cities will sometimes work with a vendor that offers proprietary technology at low cost or build their own custom solutions.

The cost savings are possible because open standards improve interoperability on networks and limit vendor monopolies that can raise prices; open standards can also reduce integration costs, according to Machina and other research firms.

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