Next-Gen Smart Cities Increase Focus on Resilience

More cities are recognizing the need to build resiliency into smart city planning.

  • Video and transit upgrades top the list for future IoT spending and that means updating municipal systems that have been neglected for decades.
  • According to market analysis from IDC, investment in smart city use cases is poised to reach $158 billion by 2022, with the fastest overall growth in the Americas and the most spending on fixed visual surveillance and public transit.
  • An innovative P3 in Las Vegas could show the way forward.

Many cities and states embraced the Internet of Things (IoT) early by launching pilot projects and looking at data such as adoption rates to determine success. But as IoT technology improves and expands, policymakers are finding that they must now replace first generation devices, as well as consider how to create a more resilient, comprehensive network.

According to market analysis from IDC, investment in smart city use cases is poised to reach $158 billion by 2022. The market intelligence and advisory firm noted that the fastest overall growth in the Americas and the most spending on fixed visual surveillance and public transit.

Notably, these areas are part of most cities’ critical infrastructure and, in many cases, haven’t been updated in years.

Alison Brooks, research director for smart city strategies and public safety at IDC, told Icons of Infrastructure that cities are now more focused on creating ultra-reliable networks. As a result, there is more emphasis on replacement and updates.

“From a public safety standpoint, cities are now focused on creating ultra-reliable networks so we’re starting to see more of a focus on replacement and updates,” Brooks said.  She added that, as standards move forward for both 5G and IoT, planners will be able to refresh networks in a smarter way, as well as consider more efficient upgrade cycles.

“I don’t think that we’re going to make the same mistakes that we have in the past,” she said.


“We’re starting to see more of a focus on replacement and updates,” Alison Brooks, Research Director for Smart City Strategies and Public Safety, IDC.


Cities vie for ‘most connected’ title

One example is the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. The city last week announced that AT&T will be working with Ubicquia to replace existing photocells in streetlights with the latter’s Ubicell streetlight routers. The routers will create a smart lighting network that extends throughout the city and down the Strip. The lights will operate on secure wireless LTE and LTE-M networks, and adjust lighting conditions based on real-time traffic data.

Las Vegas has embarked on a public-private partnership with NTT and Dell to build on the city’s “smart infrastructure”, the focus of the P3 will be to improve public safety and transportation using high-definition video cameras, sound and motion sensors, and an array of IoT devices to create a multi-channel solution. By moving away from single-issue pilots and toward infrastructure solutions the city has placed resiliency at the center of its IoT plan.

The project expands a 2016 initiative to a develop vehicle-to-anything (V2X) communications platform. The platform developed by AT&T, Delphi and Ford enables vehicles to “talk” with each other and with smart cities infrastructure to improve safety and vehicle security.

Kansas City, Missouri is another example.  The city, last summer  issued an RFP for a private sector partner to help expand its current 54 block smart district from to include most of the surrounding neighborhoods along the two-mile Kansas City Streetcar corridor.

The first phase of the project will include the installation of new wi-fi access points, 600 traffic sensors and extend connectivity for nine-miles along Prospect Avenue. The second phase of the expansion would include the UMKC campus.

Kansas City in 2016 launched its smart cities plan. City documents show that roughly 5 million residents and visitors have used the Free KC Public WiFi network over the first twenty-four months of the initiative. Moreover, Smart Kiosk usage across the network of 26 machines during the first two years of the program included over 350,000 interactions. Notably, the kiosks were also used for “get out the vote” campaigns in November 2016 and April 2017.

The city in official documents noted that while the first phase of its initiative is “sufficient to validate the smart city concept,” it is not sufficient to have a “transformative effect.”

“Expansion of the initiatives beyond the heart of downtown is required if Kansas City is going to transform from a cool city with a smart district into a smart city,” the documents noted.

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