There are also a few cornerstone clauses that can’t be negotiated. One is that the cost of using the infrastructure is the same for all operators, big and small. If a larger operator gets a discounted rate, the whole thing falls apart.
Monopolies are going to become increasingly problematic as cities seek to get smart — internet communications are a critical enabler here. For example, connectivity underpins software to optimize logistics and transport, or smart grids, which feed back information on energy use. Efficient, affordable internet services are key to economic sustainability and to social life — good connections need to be planned for, just as urban planners create public spaces where people can get together.
But it goes way beyond network access. Many components of the network — domains, user devices, internet-enabled appliances and sensors — could collaborate to make future smart cities work better. A generic approach would mean we could reuse as much as possible — so fewer products and no need for separate network connections, saving money and energy.
But only if they speak the same language. Unfortunately, most of the systems monitoring and controlling systems for heating, lighting, smart homes and office equipment currently use their own proprietary protocols.
Realizing a truly sustainable smart city will require a joint effort on many different levels — technical, societal and commercial — and communications technology will be central to enabling and coordinating a mesh of solutions. We will only realize all the benefits of technology if we have the right infrastructure in place, and if everyone can use it.
Christian Wictorin is manager of smart city solutions at WSP in Sweden
Article originally published on www.the-possible.com