Fall Edition | 2019
Dear readers,

I am proud to announce that full findings for the Building a Hyperconnected City program are publicly available and can be found by visiting our website today. The year-long global study examined practices, plans, and performance results of 100 cities already on the path to becoming "hyperconnected"—cities that leverage new digital technologies to transform and interconnect key areas of their urban ecosystem to unlock the greatest potential economic and social benefits for citizens. These hyperconnected cities are seeing reductions in crime, congestion, pollution, as well as improvements in public health, productivity, and living conditions.

Our economists estimate that, worldwide, cities could collectively enjoy a return on investment of as much as $60 billion if they were to become fully hyperconnected. According to the estimates by the reporting cities, the average return on investment on smart city initiatives ranges from 3 percent to 4 percent. As cities become more interlinked, their ROI grows. Returns in dollar terms can range from $19.6 million per city for hyperconnected beginners to $83 million per city for hyperconnected leaders .

Based on our findings, we recommend that cities striving to become hyperconnected urban centers follow a roadmap that includes these elements already being applied by leaders in our study:

  • Crafting an evidence-based case and continuously monitoring performance—analyzing ROI systematically with the right metrics.
  • Calculating the full benefits including social, business, economic, and environmental benefits.
  • Capitalizing on advanced technologies, particularly various forms of AI, while also bearing in mind the importance of cybersecurity.
  • Generating more value from data by gathering, integrating, and monetizing it in a responsible way, as well as sharing it with stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Organizing resources within a largely centralized department and drawing on both internal and external staff to operate hyperconnected city programs.
  • Using the ecosystem effectively, partnering with business and academic communities, but keeping crucial development and implementation tasks in-house.
  • Ensuring all citizens are engaged and connected by seeking input from stakeholders and reaching out to disadvantaged populations.

To become hyperconnected, cities must also overcome a series of roadblocks. Uncertainty among citizens and other stakeholders who feel their health, privacy, or other interests will be compromised by new technologies is one of the thorniest. The study found that cities like Moscow, Barcelona, and Stockholm alleviate this through effective communication and outreach to build citizen trust and engagement. Funding for smart initiatives is yet another hurdle, but there are many possible solutions, both public and private, that leaders around the world have adopted. Cities must also overcome policy and regulatory barriers—such as those around procurement— to get where they are going. Any they must also pay close attention to cybersecurity, since the costs of not doing so can mount into the millions.

Getting past these roadblocks may not be easy, but the route to hyperconnectivity will provide tremendous dividends to all city stakeholders: citizens and businesses, young and old, rich and poor.

Lou Celi,
Chief Executive Officer
ESI ThoughtLab
Building a Hyperconnected City's Advisory Board
ESI ThoughtLab would like to give special thanks to our coalition of sponsors, advisors, and industry experts. Without their commitment to the Building a Hyperconnected City program and key insights, this ground-breaking research would not have been possible.
Olga Algayerova
Executive Secretary

Franco Amalfi
Director of Innovation, Public Sector North America

Philip Bane
Smart Cities Council

Suparno Banerjee
Global Public Sector Lead, Enterprise

William Baver
Vice President, Smart World Team

Jesse Berst
Smart Cities Council

Eugenie L. Birch
Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research & Education

Nicolas Buchoud
Founding Principal
Renaissance Urbaine

Bruce Cundiff
Vice President, Business & Economics Insight Team

Chungha Cha
Co-founder & Chair
Re-imagining Cities Foundation

William Eggers
Executive Director, Center for Government Insights

Kari Eik
Secretary General
Organization for International Economics

Michal Filipowski
Global Innovation Manager
General Motors

Raul Garcia Rodrigues
Regional Director of Operations

Kensey Kaminski
Senior Marketing Specialist, Urban Places

Mahesh Kelkar
Executive Manager
Center for Government Insights

Jeremy Kelly
Lead Director
Global Research Programs

Olga Kordas
Viable Cities

Jordan Kostalec
Director of Proptech

Christopher Lalonde
GM GCCX Director
Connected Vehicle Business Operations
General Motors

Arnaud Legrand
Head of Public Sector Marketing

Stuart Lerner
Executive Vice President Infrastructure

Ben Levine
Executive Director

Gerald Maduabuchi
Business Development Manager

Suzette Malek
Global Research Manager
General Motors

Nancy MacDonald
Vice President, Urban Places Smart Cities Lead
David Noone
Senior Manager, Research & Insights Group

Susan O'Connor
Global Director for Smart Cities

Benjamin Pring
Center for the Future of Work

Joan E. Ricart
Co-academic Director
IESE Cities in Motion

Gulnara Roll
Secretary to the Committee on Urban Development Housing and Land Management

Jay Sachetti
Sr. Marketing Manager

Kamran Saddique
Co-founder & Co-Executive Director
City Innovate

Masha Seymour
Marketind Director, Global Research

Joseph Viscuso
Senior Vice President & Director of Strategic Growth

Yi Wang
Head of Global Development

Jason Whittet
Former Associate Director, Solution Development and Innovation, 100 Resilient Cities
The Rockefeller Roundation

Susan Wilkinson
Director, Business Strategy Smart Cities

Upcoming research
We are now launching our Driving Cybersecurity Performance program
Cybersecurity continues to rise as a top of mind concern for business and government. Our newest study will build on last year's research and will include an updated database and benchmarking platform that will help executives compare their performance with that of peers and to communicate the business case for cybersecurity to senior management.

Our sponsor coalition continues to grow and includes Arceo.AI, Check Point Software, Cowbell Cyber, Fiserve, KnowBe4, Optiv, and Verizon, along with media partners Edelman and WSJ Pro Cybersecurity.
If you would like more information on this program and ways to get involved, please contact Barry Rutizer , Corporate Director and Vice President of Client Relationships.
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A Sneak Peek of Driving Cybersecurity Performance
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Trendsetters in evidence-based thought leadership
ESI ThoughtLab is the thought leadership arm of Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) , a leading economic consultancy headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. ESI ThoughtLab specializes in analyzing the impact of technological, economic, and demographic shifts on industries, cities, and companies. Our in-house team of over 40 thought leadership, economic, and subject matter specialists, along with our global network of experts, excels at creating valuable decision support that sits at the intersection of visionary thinking, analytical excellence, and innovative content formats.
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