Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Silicon City: The Need for 5G Infrastructure in Developing Smart Cities

By Special Guest
Jean Lawrence, Director, Product Marketing, Oracle

As cities are rapidly urbanized, current infrastructure is being strained and is no longer able to sufficiently serve its purpose. With 60 percent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, cities are turning to technology to address the increase in traffic congestion and help mitigate their carbon emissions to ensure a better quality of life for residents. To make this happen, they’ll need the right building blocks and informed partners to achieve a smarter future.

One such building block, 5G technology, would offer cities the bandwidth needed to help measure and, in turn, solve the challenges they face. That’s because improvements such as automated traffic management, dynamic lighting systems and smarter energy consumption all depend on sensors, which monitor their environments and, in the process, accumulate large volumes of data. The total number of endpoints required for smart buildings is in the 100,001 – 10,000,000 range, pushing this a challenge to a massive scale. To capture and harness all that data, cities will need to invest in a network that has low-latency, is reliable and is scalable, making 5G essential for success.

Oracle Communications recently found that 73 percent of those surveyed believe that IoT will be revolutionized by 5G networks. The same report also revealed that 20 percent see smart homes/buildings as a transformative idea and expect smart cities to be more prominent in the year 2025. Respondents to the study see smart cities being more prominent in the everyday citizen’s life and will serve a huge role in quality of life. The survey also found that 46 percent of respondents believe that 5G would make real-time asset or process monitoring better. By accelerating their deployment of 5G and cultivating a smart ecosystem, cities can ultimately create better-connected infrastructure that will improve quality of life for residents.

In addition to building blocks like 5G, the right partners are essential to making smart cities a reality. Just as any homeowner that’s experienced a remodel will tell you, it’s important to work with someone who’s been there before. Perhaps that’s why 67 percent of respondents to the same Oracle study agreed that communication service providers (CSPs) are necessary for the deployment of 5G network-enabled solutions. Approximately 75 percent of CSPs are now launching digital services including IoT services, and in countries like Saudi Arabia or UAE, CSPs are powering smart cities and creating smart ecosystems.

Many CSPs already work with municipalities to provide connectivity services, and CSPs have the resources and expertise in deploying and scaling infrastructure to best fit a city’s needs. It’s imperative for these providers to help set the stage and work with cities to build a strong technology foundation for a connected future.

Case Studies in Action

Cities like Toronto, which aims to “build an underground pneumatic tube system for garbage removal” and pave streets built for autonomous vehicles, all generate large volumes of data. The city would need a reliable network that can process terabytes of data while maintaining a low-latency for a seamless experience. For this to occur, cities will have to deploy sensors, actuators and other components to connect every layer of the city, from the underground levels to the streets and everything in between. Handling this volume of data calls for a 5G network so that data transmission occurs at a fast rate, allowing local officials to glean insight into the city’s operations.

San Diego has introduced cameras connected to streetlights that assess pedestrian traffic and reroute cars during peak hours to decrease the number of pedestrian accidents and help address congestion. With over 3,200 sensors that measure everything from foot-traffic to detecting atmospheric data like air temperature, investing in reliable network technology will ensure that the infrastructure can handle the large swathes of data being collected every second.

Chicago is ranked as one of the leading smart cities in the world, with a roadmap for further future development. People are able to look at an app to see when the snowplow is coming to their street, and sensors on buses and in the lake track pollution levels. Further improvements, like deploying 5G would help make these initiatives even more effective.

Smart city solutions are already being deployed, but can benefit vastly from a meticulously planned investment in infrastructure that will help ease many of the modern problems that we face today. To make the most of their investments and achieve the promise of truly smart cities, local officials and CSPs need to work together and start laying down the foundations for comprehensive 5G plans.

About the author: As director of product marketing, Jean Lawrence leads the development and execution of strategy, communications, and product launches for Oracle monetization solutions. She helps customers provide flexible subscription services, strengthen customer relationships, and achieve recurring revenue streams compliant with financial requirements. She has held leadership positions at Computer Sciences Corporation, Motorola, Alliance Telecom Solutions, and Aerial Communications (now part of T-Mobile).

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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