Tag Archives: smart cities

Singapore tops smart city ranking for second year running

The 2020 Smart City Index measures citizens’ perceptions of the impact that technology has on their lives, surveying them on areas such as governance, health and safety, mobility and opportunities.

Singapore maintained its top place in the ranking
Singapore maintained its top place in the ranking.

 

Singapore has topped the Institute for Management Development (IMD) Smart City Index for the second consecutive year, followed by the Finnish capital Helsinki and Swiss city of Zurich.The ranking, launched last year, is based on citizens’ perception of the impact that technology has on their quality of lives as well as economic and technological data.

Covid considerations

This year, the IMD, in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), has included key findings on how technology is playing a role in the Covid-19 era. The index shows that those cities with better technology are handling the pandemic better.

Citizens from 109 countries were surveyed in April and May 2020 for the index and asked questions on the technological provisions of their city across five key areas: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance.

Auckland in New Zealand occupies fourth position, while the Norwegian capital of Oslo is ranked fifth. Copenhagen (6), Geneva (7), Taipei City (8), Amsterdam (9) and New York (10) make up the rest of the leading 10 cities.

Brisbane (14) is the highest ranked Australian city, ahead of Sydney (18) and Melbourne (20). After New York, Washington DC (12) is the highest placed US city with Los Angeles (26) and San Francisco (27) next.

This year saw many European cities drop in the rankings, including Vienna, which is down eight places to 25 and Prague, which dropped 25 places to 44.

“Smart cities closer to the top of the rankings seem to deal with unexpected challenges of the devastating pandemic with a better outcome”

It seems that cities have differing approaches to technology as managing the pandemic has become increasingly important in local politics.

IMD’s professor Arturo Bris, who led the work as the director of the World Competitiveness Centre at the Swiss management institute, said the impact of Covid-19 “cannot be ignored”.

“Those with better technology manage the pandemic better. Smart cities are not the solution, but technology helps,” he said.

The health crisis has also widened inequalities between the haves and the have-nots when it comes to connectivity, both among and within cities.

“Smart cities closer to the top of the rankings seem to deal with unexpected challenges of the devastating pandemic with a better outcome,” added professor Heng Chee Chan, chairperson of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at SUTD.

Second cities

The index also demonstrates the ability of some countries to develop cities beyond their capital. For example, Bilbao (24) fares better than Madrid (45). In the UK, Birmingham (40) improved by 12 positions whereas London jumped just five to fifteenth.

“Look at France. The Paris region accounts for a sizeable part of the economic activity of the entire country,” said Bris. “But then look at the US, China, Australia or Taiwan, and second cities have become more important, sometimes more so than the capital.”

“The American city of Boston is a good example of how management of its city by its mayor makes a big difference”

“As a signal of a country’s development, it’s important to develop those cities,” he added, recommending that policy makers promote competitiveness of second cities to improve the overall economic health of a country.

City economies like Hong Kong and Singapore, and to some extent the UAE, may be at a disadvantage because they are less able to develop second cities, he said.

Economic conditions

In general smart cities help citizens more, the researchers concluded, but cities have widely different infrastructures to start with. For this reason, in cities that are already highly developed, such as Zurich or Amsterdam, technology plays a marginal role as there is little to improve. By contrast, in cities such as Bogota (92) or Mumbai (93), technology makes a big difference.

Therefore, the biggest changes in the ranking from year to year happen in the least developed economies as it doesn’t take much for citizens to perceive great improvement.

The researchers said African cities at the bottom of the raking such as Abuja (107), Nairobi (108) and Lagos (109), would do well to prioritise its implementation.

Major differences

Those who compiled the index also highlight that “smart” is a relative term. “Different cities use technology for different things. That might be preventing traffic, in the case of Paris, or improving citizen participation through offering free wi-fi in Ramallah,” said Bris.

Chicago (41) has an ambitious technology plan based on hyper-connectivity; Abu Dhabi (42) has an eco-friendly project and Birmingham is one of cities in the UK ranked best for mobility.

“Those with better technology manage the pandemic better. Smart cities are not the solution, but technology helps”

This is why we see vast differences in the smartness of cities within the same country. They differ in terms of their economies, inequality levels (for example, access to health) and policies.

“Countries are no longer economic units,” said Bris. “Mayors and local authorities increasingly have the power to improve the wellbeing of citizens by implementing technology.

“The American city of Boston (36) is a good example of how management of its city by its mayor makes a big difference.”

The index and full report can be downloaded at 2020 Smart City Index

Source; Smart Cities World

5G smart roads are coming to the West Midlands

5g-smart-road

One of the things that 5G will help deliver is smart roads and smart cities, and the West Midlands looks set to start working on that soon, as £3 million is going to be spent on 5G sensors along key roads in the region.

The project will be funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and will involve the installation of roughly 280 5G road network sensors across the Key Route Network (KRN), which includes roads such as the A34, A38 and A45.

According to a tender submitted by the WMCA, looking for bidders for the project, these sensors would use the increased speed, reliability, and lower latency of 5G to deliver accurate data on transport habits across the West Midlands.

This data would then be used to “facilitate better real time planning of the region’s road network, resulting in a safer, more efficient, well maintained and managed network.”

While the tender doesn’t go into much more detail, it’s easy to imagine that this could mean improving traffic flow, tweaking road layouts, and being aware of problems as soon as they emerge.

Unlocking 5G’s potential

And that might just be the beginning. The WMCA also says that this will help with “unlocking potential new mobility business models and services which rely on accurate network intelligence”, and “provide the opportunity to test new capabilities provided through 5G communications.”

Indeed, while not mentioned here, 5G-powered smart roads will be key in the roll out of driverless vehicles, so that could be one potential result of this work, beyond just making travel smoother, safer and more environmentally friendly through optimisations.

However, this is still going to be years away, as even the sensors aren’t expected to be fully placed until August 2023. But it’s a promising look at the potential of 5G technology beyond faster smartphone data, and along with other projects, such as the UK’s first 5G accelerator, it could help make the West Midlands a 5G powerhouse.

Source: James Rogerson-5g.co.uk

 

Accelerating city digitisation and avoiding silos with interoperable IoT data model and LPWA networks

As highlighted in a market report lead by Smart Cities World and released in November 2019, decision-makers at cities, utilities and integrator s admit that they regularly encounter three types of challenges to successfully roll-out their IoT projects.

First, they recognise that they currently have few, if any, controls on the data generated by the sensors deployed on the city territory. They are also too dependent on the solution provider for their collection and treatment – the silo effect – whatever the type of use case.

Second, they claim to spend too much money in a never-ending effort to become familiar with proprietary data formats or try to bypass this situation by integrating APIs in intermediate layers to reach something as close to an interoperable standard as they can get.

Third, and consequently, they decide not to deploy IoT projects, for fear of committing public money to dead-end single-source supplier systems that lack interchangeability, scalability and sustainability over the long run.

Enabling better and quicker decision-making

A first obvious and pragmatic answer to these challenges is to leverage a jointly agreed way to format the data created by the sensors on the field, whatever the type of application (street lighting, parking, water management, waste collection, environmental sensors, traffic monitoring, building efficiency, safety etc).

Smart city projects could cost 30 per cent less if they were leveraging really open solutions, that would probably dramatically reduce the rate of 82 per cent smart cities pilots’ failures currently observed on the market.

Making it uniform and transparent would not only simplify the integration of new applications, build strong synergies between applications and produce enriched and actionable data for better and faster decision-making, it would also enable cities to capitalise on existing infrastructure, software and applications to merge operations. This would come without the need to twist and adapt the communication infrastructure, if not finally adding a brand new communication layer to the existing ones to support the city new needs or plans.

Initiatives do already exist to define a “common language” between communication networks and application central management layers, like the TALQ consortium or the DALI technology, or within the software platform itself, like the FIWARE open source platform. However, until recently what was missing was a joint initiative to converge on a common data model that could enable a quick, easy and native communication format between connected sensors, communication networks and application software. This type of unified payload structure was undoubtedly key to enabling cities to avoid vendor lock-in and offer a more flexible and wider sourcing for sensors, to combine different solutions to fit their specific needs and to eventually swap solutions already deployed in case of issues such as performance, security, remote management or sustainability.

63 per cent of cities rank the lack of interoperability between smart city devices as number one in the list of hurdles that prevent them from deciding for full deployment

This unified data model highlights the opportunity to deploy additional use cases with less risks and less integration effort throughout a city’s digitisation path, but also to retake possession of existing solutions and potentially shake the yoke of their current suppliers to make them more performant, more flexible to open their proprietary solutions or more cost-efficient. The purpose of the initiative driven by the uCiFi Alliance is clearly to fill this gap and to offer a relevant complementor to already existing open building blocks.

Connectivity is a key asset

A second and complementary answer is to give the choice of an alternative connectivity solution that really fits the purpose. Most smart city use cases do not require expensive infrastructure, low latency, high bandwidth and throughput, or demanding QoS. Instead, they require energy-efficient design, easy, flexible and cost-effective deployment, widespread coverage, deep indoor penetration and high scalability to absorb an increasing number of connected sensors of all kind – the massive IoT.

These new types of networks are an exciting alternative to existing proposals by offering cities the tremendous opportunity to deploy, operate and potentially monetise a carrier-grade IoT connectivity on their own. Low Power Wide Area Networks (aka LPWAN) are thus able to offer the appropriate performance, capacity and scalability and they are increasingly perceived as key assets that cities can directly own or control, financially and/or operationally.

Key drivers for such choice potentially include the desire for increased autonomy/independence in the way connectivity solutions are implemented, whether coverage, operations, access or security), an improved trade-off between financial investment conditions and business models throughout the smart city solution’s lifetime, and a more reactive indoor and outdoor coverage optimisation for demanding use cases.

This may also help to federate citizens around open data initiatives and to position privacy-compliant by design city projects. LPWAN is an alternative to consider as it answers both technical requirements and financial advantages while bringing the openness and richness of a thriving ecosystem made of sensors makers, connectivity vendors, applications providers and solutions integrators. This expertise in the entire IoT value chain grants the availability of many validated use cases that can be easily replicated and scaled.

From rural towns to bustling large metropolises, city officials and decision-makers around the world are facing the increasing challenges of climate change, population growth, access to basic sanitation, energy supply and management, infrastructure development and mobility. Officials should consider more flexible and scalable tailored network capabilities and capacities, or the ability to rely on a partner that can quickly and easily adapt to evolving collaboration models between several parties. This would accommodate the needs of public services and authorities, service providers and users, while addressing both their technical needs and financial challenges.

If leveraging IoT solutions can definitely help authorities to monitor critical indicators for faster and better decision-making, the use of open and interoperable data model and connectivity network will accelerate their deployment, streamline their operations and cut their overall costs.

Source: Smart Cities World

CLASS software framework makes Modena smarter in real-life setting

Cutting-edge software technology developed by the European project CLASS is now being tested on connected cars in the Modena Automotive Smart Area (MASA), a real urban laboratory in northern Italy. The CLASS framework is powering compelling smart city applications, from digital traffic signs and smart parking to air pollution simulation and pedestrian avoidance applications.

Allowing the execution of big-data analytics under real-time constraints, the CLASS software architecture provides a solution to the problems of managing extremely large amounts of complex data (pedestrians, traffic, vehicles, etc.) in real time. Data-in-motion and data-at-rest analytics are integrated into a single development framework, which works with real-time guarantees.

“It’s thrilling to see our technology powering the smart city use cases which will make our urban areas safer and less congested,” said Eduardo Quiñones, senior researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and coordinator of the CLASS project. “Thanks to its capacity to process big data analytics under real-time constraints, the CLASS framework is a significant step towards making safe connected vehicles a reality.”

“With the MASA, the city of Modena is combining the proud Italian tradition of high-end cars with the needs of modern smart cities,” said Luca Chiantore, manager of the department of Smart city, demographic services and participation of the Modena City Council. “We are delighted to be testing out the most innovative smart-city technologies, paving the way towards a truly responsive urban area which will improve quality of life for all citizens.”

The first outcomes of this smart city use case resulted in different applications, which will improve the traffic and pollution conditions of modern urban environments.

All the software architecture components have been defined and are available to download on the dedicated CLASS GitHub channel: https://github.com/class-euproject

Demonstration of moving vehicles and pedestrians in real-time in the MASA area

A real smart city use case in Modena

The CLASS software is being evaluated in the Modena Automotive Smart Area (MASA), a real urban laboratory in the city of Modena. Data is already being generated and collected from IoT devices and sensors located in the MASA and on the high-tech equipped Maserati cars.

Initial tests started generating a knowledge base with combined information of the city and the cars, upon which the following advanced smart city applications are being implemented:

  • The Digital traffic sign application allows for evaluating and improving real-time traffic conditions by advising on best routes available, for instance in the case of accidents or emergency vehicles.
  • The Air pollution simulation estimates the pollution emissions of the moving vehicles in real-time.
  • The Smart parking gathers and provides real-time data on the available parking lots within the area.
  • The Obstacle detection warns the drivers about pedestrians and objects that appear on their way, even if it is not visible to the car.

CLASS vehicle detecting parking space

About CLASS

CLASS (Edge and Cloud Computation: A Highly Distributed Software for Big Data Analytics) is a European funded project with a budget of €3.9 million which started on 1 January 2018 and ends on 31 December 2020. Coordinated by Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Spain), the project brings together a multidisciplinary consortium composed by all stakeholders needed for the development of business innovations using real big-data including vendors from the ICT industry such as Atos Spain S.A. (Spain) and IBM Israel, users across different smart city domain sectors including private and public organizations such as the Comune di Modena (Italy) and Maserati SPA (Italy) and researchers such as the Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE, Italy). Further information can be found on the project website: www.class-project.eu.

 

New York tops the latest Innovation Cities Index

New_york_city_the_city_that_never_sleeps_times_square01

New York tops the 12th annual list of the world’s most innovative cities, compiled by 2thinknow. The Big Apple leapfrogged last year’s leaders, Tokyo, London and San Francisco.

 2thinknow said New York had embraced a “more human and sustainable lifestyle, start-up economy and new smart technologies” and was the winner despite Tokyo’s tech edge in burgeoning fields like robotics. New York’s Hudson Yards development and High Line park are symbols of how the city is managing to forge “a new way in innovation”, according to the analysts. 2thinknow said New York had embraced a “more human and sustainable lifestyle, start-up economy and new smart technologies” and was the winner despite Tokyo’s tech edge in burgeoning fields like robotics.

 The Innovation Cities Index aims to measure the development of innovation economies globally. It is based on what 2thinknow defines as the three preconditions for innovation: cultural assets, human infrastructure and networked markets. 500 cities are benchmarked for the annual report, from 2thinknow’s City Benchmarking Data set of over 2,000 cities. 2thinknow scores cities on 162 indicators, including start-up economy, 13 mobility indicators, sustainability, neighbourhoods and technology, among others.

 The top 10 New York, Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, Singapore, Paris, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Toronto, Movers and shakers For the first time, 11 of the top 20 cities in the Index are in the United States.

 “What really surprised us this year was a United States bounce-back at the top of the league,” said Christopher Hire, Director of 2thinknow. “However, there were quite dramatic movements by cities up and down all across the USA, and globally as well – highlighting strong volatility and shortening the time window for commercialising new ideas.

 ” The remainder of the cities are in Europe and Asia. Singapore came in at number five thanks to its strong tech, mobility and infrastructure improvements. Paris follows at six, due to its recent rail refurbishment programmes and start-up sector, which 2thinknow said are “a symbol of some resurgent French innovation”.

Los Angeles’ strong entertainment and tech sector saw it climb one place to fourth position. Chicago entered the top ten for the first time, noted for its burgeoning start-ups, innovation seeding across many industries, a sustainable food scene and top-ranked universities. Boston, meanwhile, has remained in the global top ten every year the ranking has been published. Detroit moved up 25 places, which 2thinknow put down to the mobility sector becoming more important to the global economy.

 Detroit moved up 25 places, which 2thinknow put down to the mobility sector becoming more important to the global economy. Other US cities moving up more than 25 places included Louisville (Kentucky), Dayton (Ohio) and San Antonio (Texas). UK’s hidden gems, Africa’s rising tide In Asia, despite the trade dispute, Chinese cities Shenzhen (53) and Beijing (up 11 places to 26) both rose for innovation. Jakarta (119) rose 58 places based on its start-up sector, growth and new reforms. Predictably, London dominates the UK rankings but several other cities stand out too, including Birmingham (up 23 places), Nottingham (up 44 places) and Newcastle (up 19 places).

 In Europe, German cities are led by Berlin (12), followed by Munich (27, down 6 places) and Hamburg (46). Barcelona regained its long-term innovation status, rising to 21st globally, ahead of Madrid in 28th place. In Australia, Melbourne (11) became the top city in Australia, beating Sydney (15) for the first time in the list. Although African cities continue to be among the lowest-ranked, there are signs of a “rising tide”. The average ranking of top African cities rose two per cent. Keeping up “Our Index is designed to measure innovation conditions and often predicts rising cities before other rankings. It is up to the city whether they can keep on top of the latest trends and exploit their innovation potential [on an ongoing basis]. Cities that place well every year do that, which is not as simple as it sounds for urban areas to adapt and transform,” said Hire.

 Source: Sarah Wray-Smart Cities World

How army of drones and robots could make Leeds the world’s first self-repairing city

Leeds could become the first ‘self-repairing city’ in the world by 2035 as robotics engineers work on developing drones that can prevent potholes.

Chris Burn reports. Leeds, 2035. Moments after scanning a city road and identifying a crack in the surface around the size of a 50p piece on a night-time patrol, a drone navigates itself down to the site of the problem, lands and fills in the defect using a 3D asphalt printer. What could have eventually developed into a serious pothole is fixed instantly and the drone flies off to search for its next assignment.

Professor Rob Richardson, from The School of Mechanical Engineering, at University of Leeds, along with his team are pioneering the use of robotic drone technology to repair potholes in the future as part of a Government-funded project called ‘Self Repairing Cities’.

It is a scenario that, despite the increasing prominence of drones in daily life, still sounds like science-fiction. But for the past three years, a team of robotics engineers at the University of Leeds’s School of Mechanical Engineering have been making considerable progress on turning the concept into a reality as they work on a multi-million pound, Government-supported project to turn potholes into a thing of the past.

Like almost every city and town in the country, Leeds has a considerable pothole problem – with over 10,000 reported to the council by members of the public between 2014 and 2017. But the city could soon be leading the way globally in dealing with the problem, as well as deploying drones to repair street lights and sending hybrid robots to live in utility pipes which they continually inspect, monitor and repair when necessary. It is all part of a wider scientific ambition called ‘Self-Repairing Cities’ that has the ambitious aim of ensuring there is no disruption from streetworks in UK cities by 2050.

The vision for the project states: “With the aid of Leeds City Council, we want to make Leeds the first city in the world that is fully maintained autonomously by 2035.” Professor Rob Richardson, operational director for the robotics element of the project, says despite the major changes potentially on the horizon, it should not mean drones constantly buzzing over everyone’s heads. “We see them as being like urban foxes,” he explains. “There are not going to be drones over your head constantly. You might see them in particular times of day in particular places but you won’t see them all the time. It wouldn’t be invasive.” The drones could be in operation in Leeds by 2035.

The five-year project, officially called ‘Balancing the Impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural Systems Using Robots’, started back in January 2016 after £4.2m of funding was secured from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. It was one of seven ‘Engineering Grand Challenges’ awarded money by the agency to provide innovative solutions to issues such as tackling air pollution.

The Leeds scheme is also being supported by researchers from the universities Birmingham, Southampton and University College London, with project partners including Leeds Council, Balfour Beatty, the National Grid and Yorkshire Water. One of the main achievements of the projects to date has been combined work by the UCL and Leeds teams on developing 3D asphalt printing technology – which Richardson describes as a “world-first” – that can be used by the drones.

Work is now taking place on developing a scanning and decision-making system for such drones. Richardson says there are other possibilities for identifying small cracks in the road surface, such as through self-driving cars, buses and bin lorries that would have scanners attached to them as they went about their normal operations in ‘smart cities’ that use electronically-collected data to manage resources such as traffic lights effectively. The system would also allow for temporary road closures if necessary when drones are working on repairs. The investment of public money is dwarfed by the amounts currently spent on dealing with potholes alone.

In last October’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond assigned an extra £420m to local councils for tackling potholes on top of an existing fund of £300m, while the annual cost of resurfacing roads in the UK is estimated to be more than £1bn. Richardson says the potential benefits go beyond immediate financial implications. “Right now, if you have got a bad pothole, you need people, big vehicles and disruption through closing the road and causing pollution to get rid of it,” he explains. “We want to change that and repair things before they become potholes.” Richardson adds the current costs for repairing potholes are difficult to estimate. “You can look at the cost of a person and the hours they work to do it. But the real cost is if there are not prompt repairs, roads gets further damaged.

If you have to close roads for long periods of time, congestion and pollution builds up. There are wider costs far more than a worker’s hourly rate. Our vision is by 2035 to have this kind of technology in a city, with potentially Leeds being the first one. Our grand vision is by 2050 that the whole of the UK will have self-repairing cities. At the end of the five years we want to show what can be done.” How Leeds could become world’s first city to use drones to prevent potholes While such changes may make life better for drivers and council budgets, there would obviously be an impact on employment as technology may make many jobs redundant.

The hope is for a “win-win situation” where better jobs are created, taxpayers’ money is used more efficiently and our air, water and wildlife are protected – but a mid-term report examining the progress of the project to date has suggested it may not be quite so simple. “In the past, every industrial revolution has seen existing jobs become obsolete, labour being replaced with machines, and yet new tasks have emerged that acted as a counterbalance to the displacement of workers,” it says. “Similar to the past, the robotics and AI revolution is set to displace a large proportion of the current workforce. But the concern this time is that if robots/AI can learn most of the new tasks, the creation of new jobs may not be a sufficient counterbalance for the loss of obsolete ones.

With uncertainty writ large over this revolution, it will be the responsibility of the state to safeguard the interest of all members of society and make sure that those who stand to lose the most from impending disruptions do not fall through the cracks.” The major disruption at Gatwick airport around Christmas in which drone sightings grounded about 1,000 flights raised public concerns about the use of the technology.

Leeds and Southampton universities have already been working with the cities of Bradford and Southampton to identify potential challenges and risks and find a safe way of overcoming them. Drones have been used to provide real-time information to firefighters in Bradford to give early warning of structural problems and identify hotspots and people in need of help at incidents.

Richardson says: “Smart cities currently check data and understand people flow. That doesn’t do proactive systems. But we are talking about cities that are able to understand what is happening and be able to react and do things. “All of this stuff is overseen by people, they are systems based on a framework set and regulated by humans. As with all technology, regulations are there for a reason. If it is done correctly, it brings good.” Project achievements growing Achievements of the project so far include creating technology to 3D print asphalt which is tougher than ordinary asphalt and demonstrating that a printer can be attached to a drone, flown to a damage location and operated. Other developments include an inspection robot that can operate autonomously in a one-inch pipe,

with wireless power transfer for charging and the simulation of how cheap ‘disposable’ robots can efficiently locate potholes or other defects in roads. A spokesman said: “The findings will be used to develop the next generation of robots for infrastructure inspection and repair, but with applications in any field that might benefit from the introduction of robotics and autonomous systems.”

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

 

Vodafone using manhole covers to ‘build 5G cities’

Vodafone  manhole

Vodafone is using “yesterday’s infrastructure” to build tomorrow’s smart cities. The operator is installing small antennae within manhole covers, as well as on lamp-posts and phone boxes.

The aim is to boost speed and extend coverage of today’s 4G networks in high-traffic areas such as busy roads, town centres and shopping malls. Vodafone says the tech can then be easily upgraded to make way for 5G.

Another benefit, the company says, is that installing equipment on manhole covers causes minimal disruption for businesses and citizens – no construction work or street closures are required. Further, the landscape is not altered, making the antennae instalments ideal for busy public spaces.

In time for New Year

Vodafone has installed two types of connected manhole covers at its headquarters in Newbury. One is purpose-built and the other uses existing manhole covers. The antennae-equipped manhole covers can carry calls and internet access over 200 metres using only a small amount of power.

Further, Vodafone plans to roll 4G out beneath its own manhole covers, which it inherited through the acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide in 2012 as well as those of utility providers across the UK.

Vodafone is also fitting 4G antennae to traditional phone boxes along Edinburgh’s Princes Street – it says these will be in place ahead of the New Year’s Even Hogmanay celebrations.

The company says phone boxes are ideal homes for antennae in places where mobile masts would be hard to install due to the need for a power supply and fibre optic cable connections.

Looking ahead to 5G

The antennae are connected using Vodafone’s high-speed fibre converged network.

A statement on the initiative from Vodafone said: “These fibre-connected 5G-enabled small antennae are the foundation on which connected smart cities will be built.”

There are high hopes for 5G to advance smart cities – for example, enabling connected traffic lights which automatically re-route traffic away from congested areas and allowing city councils to monitor their infrastructure intelligently and deploy predictive or on-demand maintenance.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “We are committed to providing customers with the best network possible by drawing on our strengths in innovation and strong UK heritage. It is great to be able to use yesterday’s infrastructure – from phone boxes to manhole covers – to deliver the services of tomorrow.  This is one of the ways we are extending our 4G services to areas other networks cannot reach, and getting ready for 5G.”

Source: Sarah Wray-5g.co.uk

 

How Smart City and IoT Technologies Help Governments & Communities

IOT-networksFrom Traffic Lights to First Responders, Agencies Implement 4G LTE as Part of Smart City Initiatives

The definition of “Smart City” is seemingly as broad as its potential. To some, it’s about building roadways with sensors embedded in the ground. The next person might view first responders as the best example of Smart City technology. Others include schools and healthcare in their Smart City vernacular.

While the definition and scope of Smart Cities is up for debate, most agree on the benefits of these technologies: increased operational efficiency for governments — much of which is based on actionable IoT data — and improved services and quality of life for citizens.

“A smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare,” according to TechTarget. Even this excellent definition of a Smart City barely scratches the surface at conveying what’s possible in cities, states, and countries in every area of the world.

Gartner notes that “Urban challenges such as safety and security, traffic congestion, aging infrastructure, and even responses to events like climate change and disasters have often been addressed by silo-based departments. However, more and more city governments are moving toward smart city solutions that leverage IoT technologies.”

For many governments, 4G LTE — with 5G on the horizon — and cloud-based network management are providing the reliability, visibility, and flexibility necessary to keep Smart City edge technologies connected to agency networks at all times.

Police Vehicles

Police vehicles ensure access to mission-critical applications and communication tools by leveraging dual-modem in-vehicle routers that support instant failover from one carrier to another, as well as intelligent traffic steering based on performance factors such as latency, jitter, signal strength, and data usage.

Schools

Whether on campus or on the bus, students are benefitting from 4G LTE solutions that provide constant access to WiFi and to the swiftly expanding number of online education apps that are part of their day-to-day learning.

Fire Apparatus

The ability of firefighters to access building schematics, HazMat data, and traffic information en route to a blaze improves response time and better prepares them for the dangerous scenario at hand.

Video Surveillance

With remote access to video surveillance, agencies can capture and analyze video footage to pinpoint and prevent theft, illegal dumping, and other suspicious activity. As 5G rolls out and evolves, live streaming of surveillance footage will become more common.

Public Transit

Vehicle tracking, telematics, real-time route data for riders, passenger WiFi, on-board CCTV surveillance, and digital fare boxes are among the many connected technologies used on today’s metro buses. Transit fleet managers also use cloud management tools to make firmware, configuration, and security updates without having to bring every vehicle to headquarters.

 

Source: Cradlepoint

Spain pilots smart water technology

IoTsens is helping FACSA track and control water management in Castellón

IoTsens is helping FACSA track and control water management in Castellón

Semiconductor and advanced algorithms company, Semtech, and Internet of Things solutions and services company, IoTsens, have integrated their technology to deliver a smart water solution for Spain.

IoTsens entered a joint venture with FACSA, Spain’s leading integrated water management company, to accurately track and control water management in Castellón, Spain. Established in 1873, FACSA provides services to over four million citizens in 70 cities. In addition to smart water metering, IoTsens provides FACSA with sound, air quality, smart parking, and irrigation solutions among other IoT services for its smart city project.

“Our smart water platform provides Castellón with relevant and valuable information for the daily management and optimisation of its resources,” said Ignacio Llopis, CEO of IoTsens, which is integrating Semtech’s LoRa technology into its smart water platform. “We were able to quickly integrate, deploy and test 600 smart water meters for a proof of concept, paving the way for the current FACSA comprehensive roll-out of 30,000 water meters.”

“The LoRa-based sensors, with their long range and low power capabilities, are able to collect and communicate important household data to accurately track and control water management,” said Vivek Mohan, director of IoT for the wireless and sensing products group at Semtech. “The IoTsens’ system can also quickly detect leaks, breakdowns and manipulation of the water supply network in real-time, preventing loss of service and costly repairs.”

A single base station using LoRa technology enables deep penetration capability for dense urban environments and indoor coverage, while also providing the ability to connect to sensors more than 15-30 miles away in rural areas. It provides a battery lifetime of up to 10 years depending on the application and enables tracking applications without GPS or additional power consumption.

The technology also reduces upfront infrastructure investments and operating costs, as well as end-node sensor costs and, based on the LoRaWAN open protocol, provided by the LoRa Alliance, ensures interoperability among applications, IoT solution providers and telecom operators to speed adoption and deployment.

Source: Semtech

Guadalajara’s bike-share scheme is transformed by artificial intelligence

Stage Intelligence and BKT will work together in merging bike-sharing schemes with AI technology, demonstrating Mexico’s dedication to becoming more sustainable…

Guadalajara’s bike-share scheme is transformed by Artificial Intelligence

Stage Intelligence, a provider of bike-share scheme management solutions, has been selected by BKT bicipública, a Central American bike-share operator, to deploy its BICO bike-share management platform.

BKT operates the bike-share scheme in Guadalajara and will use the artificial intelligence (AI) based platform to offer citizens an optimised rider experience with the aim to expand their scheme.

This is the first time AI will be used in a bike-share scheme in Mexico and BICO will enable BKT to rapidly and efficiently distribute cycles across the city and ensure that riders have bikes and docks available when and where they need them.

“BKT and Stage Intelligence have a shared vision for simple, efficient and user-centric transportation. Together, we are bringing innovation to Guadalajara’s bike-share scheme and using AI to give riders the best possible bike-share experience,” said Tom Nutley, Head of Operations at Stage Intelligence. “AI makes it simple to provide services that create life-long riders. This is a great opportunity for Guadalajara to innovate in clean and sustainable transportation.”

The Guadalajara bike-share scheme is the second largest in Mexico, serving an estimated population of over 5 million people.

“BICO has allowed us to take better advantage of our resources to improve our service and we are focusing on achieving user satisfaction. BICO is an essential part to provide a better service,” said Noé Santana, Operation Manager at BKT bicipública.

Stage Intelligence’s AI-based BICO platform uses citywide data and the leading AI-technology to provide actionable insights for operators whilst addressing some of the biggest challenges in bike-share.

“The partnership between Stage Intelligence and BKT demonstrates how organisations in the UK and Mexico can collaborate to create greener cities and happier citizens. Thanks to the support of the British Embassy in Mexico, Stage Intelligence and BKT have shown that innovation doesn’t have borders,” said Manuel Mandujano, Trade and Investment Officer at British Embassy Mexico.

Source: Intelligent Transport