Smart cities are multi-actor ecosystems devoted to creating sustainable and resilient urban areas for the benefit of the society and the local and global economy. The current global population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, and 9.8 billion in 2050, most of whom will live in cities. The interface between urban growth, technology, infrastructure and capital requirement presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges to the implementation of smart cities where Space Downstream Applications have an important role to play. Becoming a smart city is not only a goal, but rather a necessity!
Space verticals have a key role to play in the smart city ecosystem as a technological enabler, at the core of cost-efficient business models. Sensors use satellite connectivity in the smart cities grid market (e.g. smart transport, energy grid, waste management, connected vehicles…). Modern navigation systems have a key role in the transport and mobility sector (e.g. real time transport information, urban traffic modelling, autonomous and intelligent vehicles…). Earth observation data is open to a huge portfolio of business opportunities in several sectors (e.g. urban planning, climate changes challenges, sustainable urban agriculture, infrastructure and building business as well as disaster and security issues). Telecommunication satellite systems have useful attributes for 5G in terms of security, resilience, coverage, mobility and delivery of broadband. By 2025, the World Economic Forum estimates 26-30 billion devices in the home and workplace will be connected to the internet, and equipped with sensors, processors and embedded software. In this context, the choice of communication technology should be transparent to the end user and based upon location, type of service and cost efficiency. 5G thus provides a major opportunity for the space sector to deliver parts of the future generation of communications networks and services.
ESA has already a relevant position in the smart cities ecosystem with a portfolio of activities ongoing or planned in support. Considering the constant growth both from a geographical and economic point of view, ESA is engaged to reinforce its contribution to the smart cities ecosystem.
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