Bringing Together Cisco Kinetic for Cities with the AT&T Smart City Operations Center

AT&T has announced it is exploring opportunities to integrate the Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform into select AT&T Smart Cities solutions, including its AT&T Smart Cities Operations Center (SCOC).
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Rise of the smart city will come with the car’s death

Some people like change, some people don’t like change, and when it comes to building anything most fear the cars that come with it. Antony Savvas considers whether his local paper will ever be free of parking fears, let alone full of brave new world attitudes to smart cities.

I won’t even bother naming the university city I live in, it doesn’t matter whether its York, Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Exeter or Edinburgh. But picking up the York Press every night is just like reading any local rag in any growing city that attracts new people to universities and new jobs.

The rein of fear that is apparent from the locals towards any new building work is striking, as protest after protest and council lobby after MP petition is dutifully covered in the daily paper. The centre of most people’s fear is the car, and the congestion and parking problems the new influx of their fellow man will bring.

So if this is the case, how are we to build the smart cities and the smart transport that is supposed to come with it?

Bloody students

My city has doubled in size in about 25 years, to just over 200,000, helped by an influx of young people attracted to a collection of good universities and colleges. And many never go back home as a result of the new types of jobs being created in the area for graduates, including IT, high-tech manufacturing, biochemistry and green technology opportunities.

When I first moved here you could park almost anywhere within reason. Now, if you park in front of someone’s house and take “their” space on the Queen’s highway, you’re in big trouble.

And while there is also a serious housing shortage, nothing ever gets built apart from student flat accommodation. That’s because anything from six houses planned by the local builder in the centre of town, to 2,000 homes on the outskirts of the city, get thrown out by lobbied politicians over the traffic and parking concerns.

There is a clue on what the future could positively entail in what is actually being built – most students either don’t own cars or don’t want them. They are more interested, we are often told, in investing what money they have in “experiences”, not things (like cars).

Come to MaaS

And this is why mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) is set to to become a driving force for the new smart cities many would like to see, to deliver efficient transport options, less reliance on carbon and cleaner air.

Buying a house or a car has traditionally been seen as a rite of passage, a way to mark one’s success. But in the current economic climate renting has become the norm for younger people and buying a car is seen as a waste of money, particularly when more and more of us are living in cities anyway.

A survey of car manufacturing bosses by KPMG found that 74% of executives thought more than half of car owners today would not want to own a vehicle in the future. Sharing economy companies like Uber and Airbnb have, of […]

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Social value, procurement and a smart city vision

“Smart cities are cities that utilise the Internet and Digital Technology to enhance the quality of life, performance of services and reduce costs by optimising energy consumption. The focus is on creating a framework with good connectivity and access to real time information for setting up an efficient management system that establishes a relationship between citizens, service providers and administrators.

It ensures that citizens actively engage in improving the overall productivity and sustainability of services by equipping cities with basic infrastructure” (Aakash, 2017). Smart Cities market is projected to grow from $ 386.55 billion (€311.28 billion) in 2014 to $ 1,386.56 billion (€1116.57 billion) in 2020, at a CAGR of 20.48% over the forecast period (Aakash, 2017).

In summary:

The application of a wide range of electronic and digital technologies to communities and cities.
The use of ICT to transform life and working environments within the region.
The embedding of such ICTs in government systems.
The territorialisation of practices that brings ICTs and people together, to enhance the innovation and knowledge that they offer (Aakash, 2017).

The smart city model can focus on a variety of areas: public transport, green spaces, waste collection and social sustainability, says Brian Bishop, CEO, Data Performance Consultancy Limited.

London is driving smart innovation in areas such as public transport through working with start-up companies like CityMapper (CityMapper, 2017).

Bristol created the Smart Energy City Collaboration to capture, analyse and act on smart energy data for the benefit of people and businesses across the city (Cse, 2017). Manchester has established a “smart quarter” (Triangulum) to pursue the objective of becoming one of the largest knowledge driven low carbon districts in Europe (Triangulum, 2017).

It is important to realise the relevance of the community and therefore not isolate or create “silos of data” as has been the practices over decades of government services. The word “Interoperability” must now be the focus of delivery and this should run through to all services across a region.

Through the introduction of a Smart City infrastructure the ability to strategically manage city wide services becomes more sustainable, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organised, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” (Pollard)

By facilitating this you could then deliver any future potential devolution plans. This will also allow for continual improvement strategies and build the world’s first true Smart City and the benchmark for all cities to follow. Procurement needs to be the central pillar that you build this around.

ONS (2016) report the public sector spends approximately £268 billion (€303.96 billion) per year, equivalent to 14% of GDP. Taking a strategic approach to government procurement presents the opportunity to support investment in innovation and skills, strengthen UK supply chains, and increase competition – by creating more opportunities for SMEs. This means creating the right conditions to put UK supply chains in the strongest possible position to compete for contracts based on best value for the taxpayer.

The public sector can use its demand – particularly when its needs are novel or complex […]

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Interview: Driving economic growth in the smart city of tomorrow

Interview: Driving economic growth in the smart cities of tomorrow

How does a smart city best leverage IoT technology to drive economic growth, Internet of Business asks Vanja Subotic, director of product management at Chordant, part of InterDigtal?

Smart city technologies could drive more than 5 percent incremental growth and $ 20 trillion in additional economic benefits over the coming decade. That’s the bold claim made in a new report commissioned by mobile technology R&D specialist Interdigital on behalf of its Chordant smart cities-focused business, and produced in partnership with market research company ABI Research, Roles of Smart Cities for Economic Development. 

Those are some pretty big numbers and presumably involved some fairly complex calculations in the background, so Internet of Business spoke to Vanja Subotic, director of product management at Chordant InterDigtal, to discuss some of the issues raised in the report.

Read more: Cisco announces $ 1 billion smart cities fund

What’s the connection?

Internet of Business [IoB]: Your report makes a strong argument that smart city development is important to the wider economic development of cities – but can you explain the connection?

Interview: Driving economics growth from smart cities

Vanja Subotic of Chordant (InterDigital)

Vanja Subotic: Smart city developments, which include improvements in mobility, infrastructure, established practices and the overall quality of life, are instrumental in attracting businesses and consequently citizens living in those cities and working for those business. It is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, where smart city technologies aid in economic development, but increased economic development requires more investments in smart cities.

IoB: And how will open data policies impact the development of smart cities?

Vanja Subotic: Open data policies enable public data sharing among different city departments and outside with individuals and businesses. This in turn allows stakeholders to better understand situations and trends, while solving various challenges. By bringing all data assets into one environment cities can open the door to innovation that will result in efficiencies and benefits to citizens.

Read more: Juniper Research names UK’s top ten smart cities

Hoping it sticks

IoB: InterDigital has already said that this is not a case of deploying technology and ‘hoping it sticks’, but of city administrators making careful, strategic decisions. What do they need to consider in order to maximize their chances of success?

Vanja Subotic: Even in the technology realm, city administrators need to consider standards-based solutions to promote thriving ecosystems. Beyond that, there are other important factors to consider. City administrators will need to ask themselves what kind of cities they want to become and what the priority services and areas should be. This will require city stakeholders to think carefully about public-private partnerships, open data policies, citizen input and participation. This of course won’t be possible without a seamless procurement and execution process.

IoB: Are there any significant pitfalls that smart city administrators should look out for?

Vanja Subotic: Deploying technology isn’t always a simple process, so there are definitely pitfalls to be considered by smart city administrators. For example, not understanding existing governing structure, departments and data can hamper efforts, while struggling to secure funding and failing to apply a priority/phased approach can also significantly reduce the success of smart city projects. City administrators should also take into account working with legacy systems, the needs of citizens and properly ensuring an equitable approach across the socio-economic strata.

Read more: Climate change will be among KPIs for smart cities by 2020, says Gartner

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Internet of Business

Open standards and interoperability are the key to Smart City growth

Smart City applications may still be in their infancy but the Internet of Things (IoT) is a true game changer in terms of the opportunity it presents to unlock operational efficiency and improve quality of life, says Phil Beecher, president of the Wi-SUN Alliance.

There is still some way to go before we see widespread adoption of Smart City technology, but it’s gathering pace and spearheading the charge are cities including Chicago, Copenhagen and Paris.

Recent research undertaken by the Wi-SUN Alliance to find out what the main challenges are for IT leaders in organisations in smart city and other IoT development sectors in the UK, US, Denmark and Sweden revealed that IoT implementation is happening further and faster than perhaps many would imagine: over half (51%) of those investing have already fully implemented an IoT strategy.

For a city to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace essential citizen services must be reliable, timely and efficient. Consequently, choosing the right communication network technology is a foundational step towards enabling a range of Industrial IoT and Smart City solutions

IoT networks, just like the internet, should be built on a set of standard protocols and structured to provide the flexibility to support this growing range of applications, as well as provide highly resilient connectivity. They must also be fault tolerant while providing the capacity to deal with very large numbers of devices.

Our own independent research also verified this with over half (52%) saying that standardisation is what they’re looking for when evaluating these technologies. Other key criteria included network topology (58%) and communication performance (53%).

It’s heartening to see respondents so advanced in their planning and understanding of networks — with most (53%) favouring a combination of star- and mesh-based networks.

Mesh-based architectures such as Wi-SUN have been designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind and to maintain highly reliable connectivity even in the most challenging environments. With star-based networks, a physical obstruction can cause localised loss of coverage to part of the network that will prevent these systems from operating.

Within a mesh network, any device can connect seamlessly with its peers and can create multiple redundant connection paths across the network. Thus, mesh networks become more reliable and resilient as they grow. If there happens to be a temporary outage, e.g. through power failure, the mesh will automatically re-route network traffic through an alternate connection path. Similarly, if the landscape changes, then the mesh will adapt to ensure continuous connectivity.

A mesh architecture provides greater resilience and flexibility than a star-based technology, making it a far better choice for Smart City networks.

The use of open standards is also important in IoT networks as it negates the need to be locked into one vendor and provides yet another advantage for Smart City applications. Solutions built on open standards, supported by a certification programme for interoperability, provide the network operator with a choice of vendors, competitive pricing and the confidence of a continuity of supply.

In order to support multi-service networks, it makes sense for a local authority or municipality to use the same communications infrastructure for a wide variety of applications, such […]

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