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This is the second report in our series on smart city financing and business models. This report presents Ovum's opinions on the key strategic approaches cities are taking to implement smart city solutions.


  • Ovum has identified three smart city strategies being adopted by cities across the world: the point solution city, the city brain, and the holistic city. Finance plays a key role in determining which strategy a city can choose, how quickly services are rolled out, and in how converged or siloed each smart city's service operations will be.
  • Each strategic approach has its own funding challenges, cost implications, and opportunities for technology suppliers. Understanding which approach a city is taking will be key to identifying new monetization opportunities and identifying who to sell to within the city.

Features and Benefits

  • Provides insight and advice to IoT technology suppliers looking to monetize the smart city.
  • Analyzes which cities are adopting which strategy, providing case studies and examples.

Key questions answered

  • What are the three types of smart city strategies?
  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of each approach?
  • How can IoT solution providers monetize these smart cities and where should they focus their activities?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations for service providers and technology vendors

Point solution cities: A fragmented and siloed rollout but simpler business cases

  • Most smart city business cases are still constructed around a single use case
  • Smart parking and smart lighting are usually the first point solutions to be deployed

City brain approach: The evolutionary path from point solution to a city brain

  • Step one: The creation of smart city teams within local government
  • Step two: Introduce a smart procurement platform
  • Step three: Bridge the silos with a single city platform

The holistic approach: Megacities and smart quarters

  • The Middle East and Asia lead in the creation of megacities
  • North America and Europe focus on holistic district regeneration


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author