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Smart city growth creates biometrics opportunity

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Smart city growth creates biometrics opportunity

Smart city development is a growing market, especially within the realm of security, innovation and public health. Biometrics are due to play a key role; the global access control market alone, which largely includes biometric technology for smart cities, is projected to grow from USD 8.6 billion in 2020 to USD 12.8 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 8.2%, according to MarketsandMarkets.

AI chips

Tech market advisory firm, ABI Research predicts that inclusion of AI chipsets in security cameras in smart cities will become the norm, reaching over 350 million in 2025. Featuring deep learning, these cameras will apply to areas around society, expanding on current CCTV practices. Abi suggests that data privacy concerns have also driven the take-up of AI at the edge, mainly because information can be processed without being sent to or stored on the cloud.

Israeli chip-developer Hailo have designed a deep learning processor that makes integrating the chip into edge devices easier for its customers. The expansion of facial recognition use being a key market driver for Hailo, leveraging accelerated AI will also prove applicable in other biometrics for products in smart cities.

“..Moving forward, the technology vendors that are successful in the smart city are those which will be able to demonstrate transparent and explainable DL models and those who show willingness to embrace open and common standards and ethical frameworks,” says Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst of AI & Machine Learning at ABI Research.


The Eden Strategy Institute has named Singapore, Seoul and London in the Top 50 Smart City Government rankings for 2020/21, assessed based on ten indicators, reports Cities Today.

“Top smart city governments in the 2020/2021 rankings were able to collaborate and partner with public and private sector stakeholders, and use digital solutions and data to deliver services and make decisions – all while considering implications on inclusion and citizen trust,” says Calvin Chu Yee Ming, Managing Partner at Eden Strategy Institute.

Singapore has been committed to investing in smart city technology, first by implementing biometrics for border control and more recently through a national biometric facial identification service to replace passwords and physical credentials.

London has also ramped up smart city tech adoption via biometric-enabled ipads for healthcare workers and a voice and facial recognition-enabled chatbot for student support at a central London university.

Other cities high up on the list include Barcelona, Helsinki and New York.


The pandemic has largely accelerated smart city development, and in some cities has been vital in providing large-scale social assistance programmes, as well as virus containment, says Borneo Bulletin.

“By digitalisation and collecting large amounts of data and then translating these data into strategic infrastructure investments, cities can support climate-resilient, low-carbon growth. Evidence-based decision-making and continuous monitoring of energy use and emission reduction targets, with the aid of dashboards means a genuine revolution in city management,” says Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Senior Economist at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

Biometrics are an integral part of this move, where Covid-19 put an increased focus on health, hygiene and public safety.

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