Could the crisis change how cities operate?

COVID-19 has dramatically changed our everyday habits. We’ve further adopted a digital-first lifestyle and have now found ways to do almost everything online. 

COVID-19 has dramatically changed our everyday habits. We’ve further adopted a digital-first lifestyle and have now found ways to do almost everything online. 

According to a smart cities report put out by ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, cities are already experiencing the benefits of these shifts in habit. Road accidents and fatalities have gone down while air quality and traffic congestion has improved. 

This crisis could be a catalyst for cities to invest in more digital transformation including e-services and smart city infrastructure. Such investment could improve the functionality and health of urban centres in our changing world. 

“What the threat of climate change has done [for smart city adoption] over the last few years, the virus has done in just a few months,” said Loredana Planta, a correspondent from the European Research Media Center. 


COVID-19 sparks long-term digital transformation for cities

Dominique Bonte, Vice President of End Markets at ABI Research, highlighted that the current crisis also offers a “laboratory type learning experience” for city councils to test out the flexibility of smart technology to address long-term urban planning challenges. 

From solar powered hand sanitising stations all the way to contactless drone deliveries, if smart technology works well in the face of a health crisis, it should also make cities more resilient to the pressures of everyday life too.


Smart technology for better functioning cities 

We’re likely to see a permanent shift to digital-first lifestyles after the pandemic. With an increase in remote work, e-appointments, and online shopping, road use could permanently decrease by 10-20%. 

According to ABI’s smart city report, these shifts mean cities will also be investing more in automated freight transport and drones to assist with last-mile delivery. 

There is likely to be an uptake in real-time dashboards linked with smart devices to manage city assets and services.

“This research indicates the strong marketplace appetite for industrial-grade wireless networking to capture the transformational benefits of digitalisation and automation. We believe that demand, combined with easy-to-deploy private wireless solutions, will drive adoption,” said Manish Gulyani, Vice President of Marketing for Nokia Enterprise, the research partner of ABI.  

Smart tech to bolster our health systems 

COVID-19 has highlighted how much we’ve taken public health for granted in recent years. 

Pimppri-Chichwad, a city in India, is using existing smart city tech like traffic cameras for contact tracing and monitoring the movements of quarantined people.

“Using tech along with community-led initiatives has helped contain the growth in numbers,” the city’s Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Shravan Hardikar told India’s The Economic Times.

The Valencia City Council in Spain is using data sourced from smart city tech and telecoms to create epidemiological models to forecast the spread of COVID-19. This can be used not only to combat the current public health crisis in Spain, but could be useful for future epidemics anywhere in the world.  

As the Spanish example goes to show, the benefits of smart technology for public health extend beyond the pandemic.

In the long-term, cities can bolster public health even through a normal flu season by investing in cutting-edge technology like antibacterial glass and AI-powered crowd analysis. 


Smart city technology and data is crucial for healthier and better functioning cities 

Smart city technology and the data it offers are changing the way our cities function and the way we interact with them. 

As Rahm Emanuel, the former chief of staff to Barack Obama, once said “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

From contactless delivery and e-services to disinfecting public spaces, COVID-19 is pushing us into a smart technology revolution for better health and functionality of our cities.


Australian companies such as Traffic Technologies (ASX: TTI) are tapping into this growing market. TTI has gained a strong reputation within the field, and is also looking to expand their smart city deliverables to Mexico, Hong Kong, Qatar and China. 

For more information on TTI or to subscribe for company updates , please visit their Investor Centre.


Reach Markets have been engaged by TTI to assist with private investor management.



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