Smart cities: getting the network right!
Smart cities everywhere
Christmas brings lovely presents of fitness trackers and smart clothing, sleep aids, VR games, voice activated virtual assistant, tablets, phones, maybe even a smart kettle or toaster or two.
As we all get used to smart devices at home, what happens when we leave our homes? If we are taking public transport, we want real-time passenger information. In our connected car, we want traffic reports. We want alerts for available parking or where we can charge our new 191 Electric Vehicle. We want to be offered deals on coffee or free lunches for the kids if we park near a connected café.
The success of small business has depended on connectivity for economic growth across Ireland. The small retailer needs to connect in order to accept card payments. And as the retail business fundamentally changes, they need to evolve to offer click and collect or online shopping. Kerry is boasting a thriving sci-tech sector. Dublin’s four local authorities have created the Smart Dublin initiative to use technology to improve city.
Connectivity is King
Smart cities mean different things to different people and organisations. One thing they all have in common is that they all need connectivity to work effectively.
Many towns in Ireland boast fast broadband, which will only improve as networks are developed and rolled out. SIRO and eir are already building networks to improve connectivity in many rural areas. When the NBP finally begins, other rural towns should enjoy superfast broadband. Cignal and other Mobile Operators like Vodafone, Three and eir are building the mobile networks of the future as they prepare to roll out 5G in 2019.
Is this enough for a smart city to grow their attractiveness as a place to live, do business and visit? We think the answer is no. For a smart city to work, users need decent connectivity.
Small Cell networks will be king
The dominance of cellular and Wi-Fi will continue. 2G and 3G will not be able to support the demand and type of traffic that will be used in smart cities. They need more flexibility to support larger scale IOT devices and higher performance to support real-time communications like voice and video. *Voice previously had its own standalone network (PSTN and GSM)
Smart cities will need 5G with a fibre backbone, which means an increase in small cells across towns. Wi-Fi access points will need to be connected directly via fibre to meet the increased demand for capacity, speed and low latency. There will be less need for towers and antennae on roof top or on hills. Space for large antennas will be an issue. Small cells are key.
Councils can leverage their significant assets
In the roll out of 5G and fibre, County and City Councils need to get involved. They own most of the national infrastructure and won’t need planning permission to add a small cell to their street lamps. Getting permission from landowners can be difficult. Councils, as the biggest landowners, can leverage their considerable repository of assets like street lamps and public car parks.
Councils can act as leaders in building the state of the art and profitable communications networks and use them to build an enticing place to live, visit and do business. They can sell on a slice of their networks to Mobile Operators. They can use a slice dedicated to city services and another to visitor services.
Everyone’s a winner. Operators will no longer feel the frustration of getting business case signed off, getting funding, and rolling out one small cell at a time. They would be delighted to buy in bulk!
Open the network
Councils- Open your portfolio and engage wholesale telecommunication companies to build your network and benefit from the recurring revenue you can earn from renting your own network.
4site can help survey your infrastructure to assess whether you have access to power, ducting, back haul availability, hidden damage to street lamps, and much more. Drawing upon our wide range of expertise from within the business we can design and implement bespoke inspection regimes to ensure our clients assets remain legally compliant, safe and operationally efficient. By utilising the most up-to-date software and tools, we ensure speed and accuracy without compromise.
See how Aberdeen City Council has led the way. WIG worked with the Aberdeen council to build a 5G network and offer it to operators.
Let’s make the most out of those Christmas presents! Find out how 4site can help build the infrastructure of tomorrow.