How can operators meet the connectivity demands of Smart Cities?

Half of the world’s population already live in large cities and this concentration of the global population is only going to rise in the coming years, making it increasingly difficult for local authorities to run these giant urban centres. With so many people living in one place, mobility, sustainability, and even security problems often arise.

In this context, using technology and data to move towards Smart Cities seems like a great option for citizens and authorities alike, making the management of these growing urban areas more intelligent and efficient. And it seems likely that 2018 will be a key year for their development given that global investment in technology to boost Smart Cities will reach $80,000 million during this year!* 

Smart cities need smart WiFi networks

There’s no doubt that connectivity will be key to the success of Smart Cities. Until now, ensuring the existence of omnipresent, accessible, and reliable connectivity has been a key challenge in their development. The benefits of Smart Cities can only be achieved if there is continuous connectivity that grants city councils uninterrupted visibility over systems’ performance and allows devices to communicate with each other at all times.

WiFi is a natural enabler of connectivity for Smart Cities and has many advantages over other technologies for a variety of reasons:

  • High adoption of its standards: A wide range of devices can connect and communicate
  • Relatively low cost of deployment
  • It has evolved to suit many different applications. For example, new standards (802.11ah) have been developed to operate below 1GHz that have a greater range and are highly suited to applications such as sensors

While that is true, in order to leverage Smart Cities to the maximum and deal with the high data demand derived from their deployment, robust WiFi networks capable of offering the necessary connection quality for a broad range of applications will be required. Offering connectivity to devices in isolation will no longer suffice, but rather the priority will be to manage WiFi networks in a smart and simple way, ensuring the efficiency of service.

The power of community WiFi networks

Public WiFi networks will be crucial in the development of Smart Cities, but operators should take advantage of community WiFi networks specifically because they are particularly well suited to Smart City applications.

  • They are efficient in terms of both investment and operating costs
  • They take advantage of their existing residential CPE footprint instead of requiring the deployment of additional WiFi infrastructure
  • They offer important coverage at a very low cost, key for ensuring the connectivity of devices involved in Smart City applications in places with limited coverage from other networks
  • They collect a lot of information that councils can use to monitor and optimize services (mobility patterns, device location, concentration of people, among others)

Operators need to invest in solutions that facilitate the rapid and simple deployment of WiFi networks if they are to enter the Smart Cities market before it’s too late. Our portfolio of carrier-grade WiFi solutions give telcos the tools they need to deploy and manage community WiFi networks as well as optimize their performance and anticipate possible incidents ahead of time. Get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more, and make sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest industry insights and Fon | Fontech news!