1Q 2022

Ecosystem Strategy for Smart Cities: Understanding Cross-Sector Opportunities

Smart cities are by nature cross-sector initiatives. It has long been recognized that the systemic challenges facing cities in the 21st century need new approaches that avoid the siloed thinking of the past. However, the ability of cities and their partners to implement innovative solutions that cut across organizational and operational boundaries has not matched the vision behind smart city strategies. The coronavirus pandemic and the impact of climate change are creating an environment that is driving systemic approaches to these issues and to other hard city problems such as health and education inequalities.

Established barriers to cross-sector solutions are still evident but they are also being challenged. Digital innovation is creating new adaptable platforms for collaboration and integration; cities and national governments are looking at funding and procurement models that encourage more systemic approaches, and the finance sector is developing approaches that focus on smart city outcomes and not just infrastructure investment. The transformations happening in the energy, transportation, and buildings sectors are also creating new environments for innovation and creating opportunities for providers to extend their target market and their partner ecosystem. The ability to deploy cross-sector solutions faster and cheaper and more flexibly than ever before changes the ground rules for how cities can operate.

This report examines established and emerging cross-sector smart city opportunities. Recommendations are provided for city strategists, technology providers, service partners, and other stakeholders.

Pages 14
Tables | Charts | Figures 6
  • Why are cross-sector approaches so important to smart cities?
  • Which areas are driving cross-sector innovation?
  • What trends are changing the prospects for cross-sector working?
  • What are the main barriers to the development of cross-sector approaches?
  • How are smart city ecosystems evolving to integrate cross-sector approaches?
  • Municipalities
  • State and regional government
  • City service providers
  • Smart city solutions providers
  • IoT and city platform vendors
  • IT, networking, and telecommunications vendors
  • Transportation and mobility providers
  • Energy management hardware and software vendors
  • Utilities
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community


Executive Summary

Cross-Sector Solutions Needed for Difficult City Problems

Cross-Sector Innovation

Opportunities across the Smart City

Overcoming the Barriers to Innovation

Market Accelerators and Inhibitors

Supplier Ecosystem Perspective

Conclusion: Accelerating Cross-Sector Opportunities

Key Recommendations

Additional Resources and Acronyms and Abbreviations


  • Cross-Sector Solutions Needed for Difficult City Problems
  • Cross-sector Innovation
  • Opportunities across the Smart City
  • Overcoming the Barriers to Innovation
  • Drivers for New In-House Development, Acquisitions, and Partnerships
  • Market Accelerators and Inhibitors