Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Cities must be connected before they can become smart – WBA

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Thursday 25 February 16

Wireless Broadband Alliance says better coordination is required between different city agencies.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) this week said cities should focus on improving connectivity as an interim step towards becoming a smart city. "Connectivity is the foundation layer, you need that as the basis before you start talking about smart city services…

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) this week said cities should focus on improving connectivity as an interim step towards becoming a smart city.

"Connectivity is the foundation layer, you need that as the basis before you start talking about smart city services," WBA chief executive Shrikant Shenwai told Total Telecom at Mobile World Congress this week.

He explained that decisions about technology choices and how to go about deploying it should be use-case driven and economics-driven.

For example, a city with a high crime rate or bad traffic congestion might require high-capacity network coverage that will support IP CCTV. However, "it would be overkill" for a city to deploy a high-capacity network if it is only going to be used to underpin connected sensors or utility meters, said Shenwai.

Cities need to create a "connected city blueprint" that gives structure to their vision and creates "the mother of all networks," he said.

"There is not any single technology that will create a smart city, we need to bring them together," added Ton Brand, the WBA's senior director of marketing and industry development.

However, once a city has identified the technologies it needs it then has to confront another challenge: deploying them.

"You have to coordinate between different city agencies, sometimes hundreds of them, and they all own different assets," Shenwai said.

Some forward-looking cities have created a single point of contact for industry players seeking to participate in connected city projects, he said.

According to the WBA, Barcelona, San Francisco, as well as city-state Singapore are some of the cities that are ahead of the game when it comes to deploying connectivity.

"They are building the potential for these cities to become smart cities," Shenwai said.
 

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