Pervasiveness is the semiconductor industry’s watchword. Without new applications the industry’s growth would stall and, without growth, how could the next generation of Moore’s Law be funded?
Early examples of new applications driving pervasiveness were TI’s Regency transistor radio which attuned the world to the benefits of transistors and TI’s pocket calculator which showed the world the benefits of ICs.
Some ideas are better than others. The 5th generation computer project, robotics, virtual reality and wearable computers have, until now, turned out to be fruitless.
The PC, mobile phone, STB and DTV have been fruitful.
On IoT the jury is still out.
But what about a new prospective application – smart cities?
This is a great potential application for the IC industry because cities are controlled by local bureaucrats with huge budgets and small brains. Selling cities the opportunity to become ‘smart’ is as easy a sell to a local government manager as selling IT to an NHS paper-shuffler.
Compounding this is local bureaucrats' love for projects which involve spending money – it gives them power, control and kick-backs. Dangle a money-splurging idea in front of a local apparatchick and he’ll take to it like a politician to a brown paper envelope.
Now IHS defines a smart city as one that has deployed, or is deploying: “The integration of ICT solutions across . . . . mobile and transport, energy and sustainability, physical infrastructure, governance, and safety and security.”
Under this definition, IHS says the world has 21 smart cities but this will rise to 88 by 2025. It also reckons that smart city spending will rise from last year’s $1 billion to $12 billion in 2025.
After IoT, smart cities looks a no-brainer to be the next tech bollox marketing ploy - unless some imaginative marketeer comes up with a better one.