Barcelona Tops List of Smart Cities for 2015

Tim Maytom

Casa Milà BarcelonaBarcelona has topped the list of smart cities in 2015 produced by Juniper Research, and has been held up as a global leader in the area thanks to its consistently good performance across all metrics.

The Spanish city serves as a model of success from which other cities attempting to transform their infrastructure to embrace mobile technology can learn, with strong environmentally sustainable initiatives like smart grids, traffic management and street lighting, as well as high technological capability and social cohesion.

The city's embrace of technology is no doubt influenced by the Mobile World Congress, which takes place there every year and sees key decision makers and innovators gathered in the city.

New York and London came second and third respectively, but require greater emphasis on implementing environmentally positive projects. Nice and Singapore completed the top five.

Juniper Research's study of smart cities found that smart grid initiatives will save $10.7bn (£6.9bn) a year by 2019 in reduced energy consumption, with reduced emissions equivalent to those produced by 130m barrels of oil annually.

Despite wide ranging differences in energy market regulation and policy, cities across the globe are seeking out smart grid solutions, with grid reliability, transmission line loss and national energy concerns all driving change.

"Issues such as grid cybersecurity and winning over the consumer where smart metering is concerned still need to be addressed," said Steffen Sorrell, author of the report. "Education is key – certainly in terms of stakeholder information sharing as well as promoting the full benefits of a smart grid beyond a vague notion of a reduction in energy bills."