What is a smart city?
Traditionally, a smart city is one that has deployed thousands of sensors, hundreds of solar panels or dozens of rooftop farms. Now, cities need to be both smart and future-ready.
A smart city today is one that has built the foundation to be resilient in the face of challenges and adaptable to social and economic changes.
5G will play a big role in achieving a future-ready city vision. This technology’s ultra-low latency, blazing speeds, extra-large bandwidth and fail-proof reliability promise to breathe new life into the technology capabilities that cities rely on, while delivering improvements in quality of life.
There are six key imperatives that guide the implementation of a smart city:
1. Develop three-part ecosystems in which cities, infrastructure providers and tech integrators collaborate on ideas, capabilities, technologies and funding for a future-ready vision.
2. Ensure ecosystems foster mutually beneficial relationships and encourage experimentation. This creates an environment that supports innovation and collaboration while allowing for initiatives that lay the foundation for smart cities.
3. Focus on individual solutions that tie back to a shared foundation. Instead of deploying a fully integrated solution that covers multiple use cases in one big-bang implementation, it is more effective to prioritize specific initiatives that build on previous solutions. This enables agility and adaptability in the implementation process.
4. Embrace emerging, high-impact technologies. Technology—automation, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, data analytics, mobile technologies and cloud computing—has long been considered vital for smart cities. 5G’s latency, speeds and bandwidth will further its value. Meanwhile, emerging technologies, like digital twins and blockchain, can serve as a solid foundation for future-ready endeavors.
5. Share data with multiple stakeholders. High-quality data is a requirement for smart cities, but this data must be made accessible to relevant stakeholders. Restrictions in data-sharing limit opportunities to improve public services, economic development and citizens' lives. They also minimize collaboration and hinder the implementation of a future-ready strategy.
6. Prioritize security and privacy concerns. As smart cities rely on data collection, there is growing apprehension about cybersecurity and potential citizen surveillance. Partners need to acknowledge and address data utilization concerns within cities and their ecosystem.
By adopting an ecosystem-driven strategy, cities, tech integrators and infrastructure providers can overcome challenges and prepare for future-ready transformation.