Smart Cities Market 2021-2041: Energy, Food, Water, Materials, Transportation Forecasts –

SpaceX, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Baidu, Toyota, Tesla, Hyundai, Virgin, LG and other strong investors are involved in smart cities in ways you may not expect and the biggest commitments are not always from the largest countries. This smart cities market report explains. Uniquely, the 320 page report analyses and forecasts what it identifies as the major disruptive opportunities for radically new city designs and their new materials, equipment and systems.


The approach is broad because it is an IDTechEx overview “master” report. There are a host of IDTechEx drill-down reports cascading from it specifically on vertical farming in cities, robotaxis, zero-emission desalination for cities, energy independent cities and so on.



Source IDTechEx report ‘Smart Cities Market 2021-2041’


This smart cities market report involves 151 companies studied that will serve over 500 cities that are seeking to be smart. It is an antidote to the traditional study obsessing about the information technology aspect and little more. Emphasis is the present and the 20 year future but with many timelines to 2050, commercial opportunities and technology trends. The presentation is easily understood because it mostly consists of new infograms, tables, graphs, diagrams and pictures with pages typically packed with new information and insights. The priority is business opportunities.


IDTechEx has been studying these topics for 21 years, lecturing and consulting globally on them. Its methodology involves original interpretation based on its PhD level analysts across the world doing ongoing interviews in local languages, consulting, attending events and so on. The report was mostly researched in 2020.

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What this report provides:

1. Assessment and comparison of the most ambitious, appropriate and well-funded smart city projects.

2. Identification of the largest new technology opportunities and most impressive participants and projects.

3. How smart cities can be energy, food and water independent even in the sea or desert. How they will eliminate much infrastructure and pollution and adopt radically new transport and smart buildings. The city design, technologies and benefits involved.

4. Quantification of global challenges that these new technologies will address such as killing the sea, rise in sea level, global warming, desertification, the move of people to cities, ageing farmers, high suicide rates.

5. Appraisal of promising technologies and equipment such as robot shuttles and floatavoltaics and caution about others such as electricity from road movement and premature launch of vertical take-off battery air taxis with reasons why.

6. Imaginative new ideas for smart city materials and hardware based on our appraisal of the latest multipurpose materials research. Learn such things as materials optically, electronically and electrically edit-able on arrival and appropriate advanced multipurpose composites. Why cities need flexible glass and transparent or magnetic concrete plus light-emitting, electronically-darkening, electricity-producing windows. It is all here.


Some of the company, technology assessments and timelines presented:

1. Reinvented transport being multi-purposed: robot shuttles, robot buses, Hyperloop, electric aircraft.

2. Ubiquitous new land, water, wind power for the planned all-electric, energy-independent city.

3. Integrated farming in cities for food independence – robot greenhouses, vertical farms, aquaculture, saline farming

4. Water provision in cities for independence – opportunities and integration such as solar desalination farming.

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5. The $100 billion zero emission modular genset opportunity.

6. Multipurpose materials replacing dumb structures such as windows, walkways, vehicle bodywork.

7. New smart materials – formulations, composites, multifunctional. Research trends.

8. Ubiquitous sensor systems and information and communications technology advances as a large but not dominant opportunity.

9. Ten infograms of the city of the future and its technologies

10. Ten global maps of technologies and issues


35 detailed forecasts are presented through the report, including:

Primary energy by type and peak fossil fuel dates

Off-grid harvesting systems by technology

Photovoltaic materials by technology, cost and location progression

Solar ground surface cladding

Smart glass

Robot bus, robotaxi, robot shuttle, Hyperloop

Vehicle robotic systems by autonomy level

Electric light-commercial vehicles

Automated cars

Key robotic components

Sensors by type

Vertically farmed produce

Wearable technology in 8 categories

Multifunctional composites 4 graphs, one technology timeline

Cultured meat grown in cities to replace living foodstock

The $1.7 trillion 2041 new technology opportunity in smart cities by seven types


The smart cities market report layout is as follows:

1. Executive Summary and Conclusions. This Executive Summary and Conclusions is sufficient in itself with 30 important smart cities compared, 16 key conclusions on problems targeted by smart cities, 7 key conclusions on the primary new hardware technologies to be applied, the 30 most important forecasts.

2. Introduction to the challenges. This spans from desert cities planned in the USA and Arabian Gulf to cities planned in the sea and tackling local and global pollution.

3. Introduction to smart city solutions with detailed concepts by IDTechEx and others based on actual materials, equipment and systems research. Comparisons of smart city project objectives concentrating on the big changes such as technology for empowerment of the poor and disabled, elimination of sewerage, charging stations, sidewalks, traffic jams, accidents, provision of free transport, zero emission.

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4. Energy independence by new forms of ubiquitous solar, wind and water power and new forms of energy storage in cities, arrival of self-powered vehicles, boats, aircraft.

5. Food independence from replacement of farms outside cities with zero-emission cultivated meat without animals, vertical farms, roof-top greenhouses, food growing integrated into human facilities, aquaculture and the new smart materials enabling it all.

6. Water independence by better conservation, micro farming, rain capture and treatment and zero-emission desalination without environmental damage from its effluent.

7. Smart transport for cities concentrating on what is new such as robot buses, robot shuttles, Hyperloop, solar aircraft and solar boats.

8. City cognitive infrastructure, sensor systems. What is possible. What is causing problems. Technologies such as sensor networks. This chapter is limited in scope to reflect relative importance.

9. Multifunctional composites. This closely examines what is newly possible and what will be possible, notably structural electronics, electrics, optics, magnetics.



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