City governments are adjusting to a new reality, with COVID-19 driving urban resilience and digital transformation strategy agendas, finds ABI Research. This is reflected in the deployment of a range of technologies for new use cases during the current emergency:
- Drones – Communication and enforcement of social distancing rules; delivery of medical supplies
- New types of surveillance – AI-based remote temperature sensing (Kogniz Health)
- Autonomous freight – Autonomous last mile delivery (Beep, Navya, Nuro, Waymo, Postmates)
- Digital Twins – Holistic, transversal, real-time visibility for resources, assets, and services (Siradel)
- Real-time dashboards (City of Boston) and data sharing including the use of smartphone data crowdsourcing for location tracking
“While many of the measures taken by city governments during COVID-19 are decided on the fly requiring high levels of improvisation, it has resulted in a rich laboratory type learning experience in terms of how to take advantage of the inherent flexibility of technologies to address emergency situations and challenges linked to demand-response management of assets and services,” says Dominique Bonte, Vice President End Markets at ABI Research.
“This will have a lasting impact, coming out of COVID-19 during and after the drawn-out recovery period, in the form of a step change in how resilience is approached and generalised, allowing to prepare better for future calamities, a distinct silver lining on a very dark COVID-19 cloud.”
At the same time cities are reaping the benefits of a digital only lifestyle in the form of the sudden adoption of e-Government services, e-Health and teleconsultation, remote work, online education, and e-Commerce resulting in huge drops in traffic levels. These, in turn, are dramatically decreasing congestion, fatalities, and air pollution. Importantly, post-COVID-19 traffic levels are expected to only reach between 80 percent and 90 percent of the pre-COVID-19 levels, as digital lifestyles take hold more permanently, driven by both public and private initiatives and incentives. The result will have lasting positive effects on the environment.
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