2018 Smart City Predictions
2018 Smart City Predictions
Developers are empowered to lead the way in the adoption of IoT in cities and industry. See what lessons have been learned from the past and what 2018 holds.
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The following are insights and predictions for smart cities in 2018:
Security was a big topic of conversation for smart cities in 2017. This was further highlighted when hackers even took over the Dallas emergency warning system by setting off the sirens for two and a half hours in April 2017.
How do you see security concerns being addressed in 2018? How can cities and municipalities set their customers and citizens at ease during this time of heightened concern for privacy and security?
Data security and privacy is a major priority for citizens across the globe, and citizens put a lot of trust in cities, municipalities, and utilities that use their data for services and applications. Organizations are generally not remiss in fulfilling their responsibility. Security measures will be applied throughout 2018 to not only the data repositories, be it the public cloud or private data center, but also within the sensors themselves and how the data is transmitted. In fact, almost 60% of respondents in a recent Wi-SUN Alliance report listed security as their top concerns in their IoT implementations. Additionally, 74% of respondents listed IT security improvements as their top priority.
These organizations will need to proactively update citizens and users of security concerns and updates to security systems to highlight the measures they are taking to protect not only the smart grid but each and every citizen. Also, organizations should look to utilized standards-based technologies in their IoT strategies to increase security measures. With standardized tech, IP-based security mechanisms can be used with a wide variety of hardware and software from diverse vendors. What’s more, IP-based security technologies are proven to be highly scalable, allowing for continued commitment to security as the network expands and evolves.
How will network choices by cities and municipalities dictate how they roll out smart city initiatives and networks for 2018 and beyond? How do different networks architectures benefit municipalities and cities?
When choosing a network for smart city initiatives, cities and utilities need to consider growth, additional use cases and performance. Focusing on key needs will ensure that the right network architecture is selected to meet the today’s program goals, as well as their future needs.
Many specialty cellular-based Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA) providers have created buzz without a whole lot of substance to their technology. They preach certain attributes for the IoT such as low cost, low energy consumption and as trade-offs, lower speeds to achieve longer ranges. The problem with most of these is that they are proprietary, single-use networks. Creating an ‘Intranet of Things’ with these solutions not only limits innovation and raises security issues, but it’s costly: Machina Research believes as much as $341B USD by 2025 could be wasted by deploying non-standardized IoT solutions for smart cities.
Further, the hub-and-spoke models of LPWAs do not work as they can be weighed down by their own success; the more devices on the network means more congestion and contention. Eventually, these ‘low-cost’ solutions will require massive increases in networking infrastructure at greater costs to the network operators and, ultimately, to the end-users.
Specifically, Wi-SUN-based IoT networks have been shown to to meet all of these needs. This network uses a self-healing mesh design where IoT devices communicate with each other and establish multiple paths through the network. This ensures that the network can “see around corners,” with their effectiveness not reduced by skyscrapers, for example.
How? By its very nature, mesh can aggregate data from widely distributed endpoints – from dense urban environments to remote rural areas – and can then upstream that data traffic to the carriers’ towers. Today, our meshing architecture aggregates thousands of endpoint connections in the energy industry and for the public sector. It’s because of this that mesh is the best architecture for the IoT – it’s standards-based, secure and scalable, and above all, proven.
How are different industries “commercializing” the IIoT? What will that look like in 2018 and beyond?
Which industries are truly prepared for the mass adoption of IIoT applications?
According to a recent report by Wi-SUN Alliance half of the organizations investing in IoT initiatives have already fully implemented a strategy, with more than one third having partially implemented strategies. This positions these organizations well for the expansion and further adoption of IoT devices and applications – Gartner predicts that over 20 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. Those industries particularly well poised are oil and gas, technology and energy and utilities, says Gartner.
As cities and industries look to adopt and implement IIoT strategies and further “commercialize” it, they must take into account how it will benefit not only their citizens and users but also the teams and leaders put in place to drive these organizations into the future of IIoT. We have found developer programs to be an amazing tool for cities and industries to utilize to increase the number of IoT applications available to implement, as well as the rate of adoption of IoT applications. By leveraging this existing network infrastructure, cities and industries can use developer tools and resources to optimize, improve as well as extend their service offering.
How will utilities think about smart cities in 2018?
Utilities don’t get enough credit in the industry for their leadership in building out smart cities and broader IoT use cases. Utilities have been playing a key role in powering their communities for over a century.
And over the past few years, we've seen more examples of this as utilities have been working with cities within their respective territories to enable new applications through the development of the smart grid and sharing access to that network infrastructure, such as when a water utility has asked a power utility to lease its network for enabling smart water meters.
It’s this “single network, multiple applications” concept that has always been our vision in helping utilities remain a key contributor in the communities they serve, through working with a variety of key city stakeholders. Now, more than ever, there are opportunities for utilities to take on 21st-century challenges and help build out smart cities.
There are three key elements driving the industry’s transformation:
Radical change in consumer power;
Increase in distributed generation;
Greater need for utility/city partnerships.
Utilities, in partnership with city and state government, have opportunities to ensure infrastructure is optimized for power grid generation, distribution and deliver to the end customers. This infrastructure can strengthen our communities through a horizontal network canopy model connected by other ‘things’ in our cities. This, in turn, may open up new revenue models for the unregulated arms of the utilities.
As utilities look beyond their core services (delivering energy to customers), many are finding smart lighting is the next logical application. In the U.S., many utilities manage or own a large percentage of the community street light assets. When an established smart grid network already exists, it can be leveraged to connect the street lights to enable enhanced energy savings and improved maintenance. This is just one obvious example of extending the network to support other applications. There are many more applications being considered and developed which we will begin to see in 2018.
Beyond cities, state or national governments will have to step up to support smart city initiatives. Nationally, and regionally, utilities will be driven by business
cases, while cities will be driven by citizens public safety and quality of life benefits.
How are cities using data in their smart cities initiatives?
Connecting and correlating smart city data, across multiple use cases, will give cities and municipalities greater insights of how to make their city more efficient and resourceful. Similar to the smart grid, in order to connect a wide range of assets and infrastructure across a city, a robust, secure and scalable network platform is needed for smart cities to allow each asset or device to interact in real-time with the surrounding environment and adapt accordingly.
Once they have the data, cities and municipalities can apply advanced analytics to glean insights into where they have problems and how they can improve city services. With these insights, cities and municipalities can better understand what their citizens need, better manage city resources, improve operational efficiencies, deliver new services and strengthen community relationships. And the city doesn’t need to do this alone! There are many companies, big and small, who are dedicated to data analytics and “deep learning” and just thirsting for data sets to work on.
Building a smart city also requires partnership and collaboration across businesses, government, technology companies and even academia. As the number of sensors deployed across the city increases so does the amount of data collected from the sensors. In order to make sense of all the raw data, and derive real, actionable events, there will need to be multiple parties contributing to the analysis and solution. Take Smart Parking as an example. Data collected by sensors in the streets or by cameras on poles will indicate whether a parking space is occupied or available. This data needs to be distributed to multiple parties, including citizens or visitors who are seeking a parking spot and also a parking officer who is policing the parking spots to identify violators and issue tickets. The data could also be combined with traffic congestion data and way-finding signage to steer drivers away from, and around, the areas of highest congestion. This is just one example of how smart city data can benefit both the citizens and the city government.
Will 2018 be the year of the U.S. smart city? Are European cities ahead of the U.S. when it comes to IoT innovation?
This is like comparing apples and oranges. The European market works and operates differently to the U.S. market. However, I think the U.S. can benefit from taking a page from the European smart cities playbook. European cities are progressive in their use of technology, especially when it comes to energy savings and environmental benefits from reducing carbon footprint.
In 2017, the U.S. saw major developments and deployments on the smart city front, including leading cities like Chicago who are progressing on their major smart infrastructure plans to enable wireless controls on its street lighting assets across the Windy City. This follows the smart lighting trend which we’ve seen in other U.S. cities such as Providence and Miami.
Beyond that, the smart city movement is a global trend. Especially as our world becomes more connected, cities aren’t only competing with each other regionally, but on a global stage. Especially in emerging markets, we are finding that there is just as much – if not more – significance on smart cities. For instance, according to Deloitte, the smart city market is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2019. But the U.S. shouldn't downplay its experience either. The U.S. has one of the most mature smart grid programs in the world, and as one of the first waves of the IoT, this expertise is crucial in being able to successfully deliver on any other future smart city service.
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