Global population growth and the continued migration from rural to urban areas are placing unprecedented demand on our cities’ infrastructure, energy consumption and services. In its 2011 State of World Population report, the United Nations Population Fund predicted that the world’s population will increase from 7 billion in 2011 to 9.3 billion by 2050, and as high as 15 billion by 2100. Coupled with this dynamic, while 50% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, within 35 years this will grow to 67%. To remain sustainable, cities need to become smarter. In a wireless age, this means leveraging their connected technology assets to promote citizen-centric solutions. ATIS recently announced a new initiative that will create a resource to help in the development of Smart Cities.
Smart Cities: How does a city become “smart”?
Smart Cities take planning. The chosen path will vary depending on each city’s stage of development, location, culture, demographics and motivation. In parallel, cities must make decisions regarding which verticals and their associated applications to support. These encompass a wide range of functions and are illustrated in the graphic below.
The challenge facing most cities is that each department may have its own network to support its services and its own priorities with respect to its technology evolution. In a Smart City environment, the foundation is based on an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure that converges these individual disparate networks to offer seamless intelligent connectivity within and across the different verticals in order for a city to fully leverage its assets and capabilities.
To achieve this goal, a unified approach to technology deployment is necessary. While a number of organizations are working to develop frameworks in support of the multitude of both current and future verticals and applications, ATIS is focusing its efforts on creating a detailed Smart Cities Technology Roadmap that identifies the key network-enabled developments that integrate network-enabled technology developments with emerging vertical applications.
To develop the Roadmap, ATIS is working with its member companies active in this sector who have already partnered with and invested in Smart Cities projects. By leveraging their knowledge of ICT network evolution, the Technology Roadmap can become a valuable asset to Smart Cities planners, by providing a practical planning guide of network-enabled developments that will help shape their planning and timing decisions.
Leveraging some of the early Smart Cities focus areas such as Transportation, Energy, Smart Buildings and Smart Lighting the Roadmap will build on the foundational elements of those infrastructures, while identifying and prioritizing the technology-enablers that need to be further developed to help all verticals become an integral part of how Smart Cities function.
Some of the enabling technologies include the following:
By embracing virtualization within its networks, cities will be able to build a more flexible architecture that is programmable and automated, elastic and dynamic, as well as open and interoperable.
Multi-Access Edge Computing
Allows Smart Cities to push logic and control to the edge of the network and down to where their assets reside. This provides a higher-bandwidth, lower-latency environment, providing better performance for mission-critical and time-critical applications.
Big Data Analytics
As Smart Cities implement sensors and monitoring equipment, the amount of data being collected will be massive. As such, Smart Cities will likely implement data analytics to process this information and determine if it is actionable and adds value to both the end user and the city itself.
Hybrid Cloud Architectures
Allows Smart Cities to use cloud infrastructure for new applications, while maintaining existing in-house infrastructure in support of the legacy on premise systems across multiple verticals. Using robust APIs, cities will ensure that services implemented in the cloud can work together in the future.
Why does this matter?
The planning and development cycle for Smart Cities is long and will most likely require a migration of its current legacy network solutions towards Smart City solutions. As such, it is critical that cities make the right investment in the right technology at the right time.
ATIS’ Smart Cities Technology Roadmap, based on input from key technology companies that have extensive experience in both network evolution and smart city implementation, will offer a comprehensive view around technology development. It will provide city planners with greater confidence in the sustainability of their initial investment, as well as guidance (and associated timing) around technology evolution. This component is key as city managers in early Smart Cities deployments have often discovered that new technologies, while promising, were not always ready for prime time.
The Roadmap will provide city planners with an accurate view of network-enabled developments that will advance future services and applications, facilitate integrated services and opportunities, as well as help to create new revenue opportunities and a tangible ROI for our growing cities.
As a leading technology and solutions development organization, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) brings together the top global ICT companies to advance the industry’s most critical business priorities. ATIS’ 150 member companies are currently working to address 5G, the all-IP transition, network functions virtualization, big data analytics, cloud services, device solutions, emergency services, M2M, cyber security, network evolution, quality of service, billing support, operations, and much more. These priorities follow a fast-track development lifecycle – from design and innovation through standards, specifications, requirements, business use cases, software toolkits, open source solutions, and interoperability testing.
ATIS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ATIS is the North American Organizational Partner for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a founding Partner of the oneM2M global initiative, a member and major U.S. contributor to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as a member of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL). For more information, visit www.atis.org.