Telecoms are reliable connectivity partners for the smart city infrastructure – connecting people and things as well as enabling industry solutions. To move up the value chain, there are five areas to focus decisions and investments.
Smart city systems can gather and analyze massive volumes of data from several sources, including video security cameras, intelligent traffic lights, and other IoT devices, using the fast and responsive 5G network. This means that telecoms are playing a front-line role in the smart city movement.
During the pandemic, telcos proved themselves essential when it came to, for example, controlling movement, monitoring myriad parameters, identifying emerging hotspots, and allocating healthcare intelligently.
In the near future, there is a clear opportunity for telecoms to move up the value chain by focusing on the following areas:
- Data aggregation, analytics and insights
According to estimates, global IoT connections will hit 29.4 billion in 2030. With connected devices and sensors generating zettabytes of data, there is a big opportunity for telecoms to bring together this data on top of their networks, coupling data analytics with edge computing for more contextual and timely analytics and insights.
- Centralized operations management
There is an opportunity for telecoms to act as an operational hub, managing and monitoring assets in real-time. Such efforts might include an intelligent control center for public safety, utilities, healthcare and other aspects, all monitored in an integrated manner.
- Vertical-specific solutions with IoT
There is a range of vertical-specific use cases around smart transport, connected cars, smart buildings, healthcare and other areas in which telecoms can position themselves as solution providers. For starters, healthcare is a lucrative field for remote health monitoring – the detection and analysis of healthcare data to enable predictive insights on patient health, which will only become more vital in a post-pandemic world.
- Managed services
Telecoms can bring together providers and consumers under a common digital platform. They can manage services for all segments – healthcare, connected transport, smart buildings and others – to enable efficiency, optimization and scalability of resources as needed. With their experience in technology, scale and subscriber management, telecoms are well-positioned to be the managed services provider for smart cities.
As telecoms mature and deepen their play in the smart-city space, they can transition from enablers to creators in partnership with governments, city planners, and IoT device and analytics players.