New research from Frost & Sullivan, in partnership with Hitachi Europe, finds that the social innovation opportunity in South Africa should be worth around $15 billion per year by 2020.
The research defines social innovation as the deployment of technology and new business models to bring about positive change to the lives of individuals and societies, creating shared value and improved social infrastructure to address global megatrends.
The report discusses how urbanisation will continue globally to form megacities and how smart and more efficient technology will be necessary to fulfil the energy, transportation and healthcare needs of their population.
The research reveals that by 2020 56% of the world’s population will live in urban areas and more than 35 cities globally will grow to become mega cities by 2025.
There will be 26 smart cities globally by 2025 and the market for smart cities will reach a value of $1.57 trillion by 2020.
Johannesburg is expected to be a smart city by 2020 and the Jo-Toria region (Johannesburg, Sandton, Randburg, Midrand, Centurion and Pretoria) should count 6.8 million inhabitants by this time, F&S said.
The research also identifies the five mega-trends and opportunities where Social Innovation can address the future challenges of global society:
- Urbanisation: Mega cities will emerge as core city centres merge with suburbs to form mega-regions, mega-corridors and even mega-slums.
- Smart is the New Green: Green products and services will be increasingly enhanced or even replaced by smart products and services. Digital intelligence will be the key driver of efficiency and sustainability. Smart and sustainable cities will be built from scratch, using the latest intelligent and green initiatives to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiencies in all facets of human life.
- Future of Energy: Urbanisation and the pursuit of energy security are currently driving the future of energy debate, but the global energy future will not be entirely dominated by fuel choices. Rising energy costs and a focus on environmental performance has triggered innovations to manage energy efficiently through technologies such as smart grids, offering more control and visibility, which results in cleaner, reliable and smarter energy.
- Future of Mobility: Connectivity and urbanisation will have a profound impact on personal and freight mobility. By 2020, it is expected that nearly 1 million parking spaces will deliver real-time parking information with the help of sensors, there will be 26.2 million car sharing members and 450,000 car sharing vehicles. In the period 2010 – 2020, over $500 billion will be spent globally on high speed rail projects with over 70,000 km of high speed rail track in use. High speed rail will connect not only cities and countries but also continents. In 2035, one will be able to travel from London to Beijing using the global high speed rail network.
- Health, Wellness and Wellbeing: A shift from treatment to prevention with emphasis on predictive diagnostics and constant wellness will see global healthcare spend on treatment reduce from 70% in 2007 to 56% by 2020. With smarter drugs, virtual hospitals, and cyber documents, the healthcare industry is poised for a radical change. Key to this paradigm shift will be innovation targeted toward individual power patients.