May 5, 2016 — Many of the trial and small-scale deployments of smart cities have proven so successful that these emerging systems are starting to scale these pilot projects into larger, citywide deployments that facilitate everything from more manageable traffic to increased efficiency in utility consumption.
There are a number of reasons for that, the most significant is the continuing evolution of sensors, power scaling and big data. What is making this work is the proliferation of sensor networks throughout the urban landscape that connect to big data analytic engines. This combo produces real-time insight and, from that, resultant allocation of systems resources. A good example of that is if traffic starts to bog down on a particular street, highway or the like, these ubiquitous sensors can report back to the network that controls the municipality’s traffic lights. The network then then can vary the amount of “green, yellow, red” time the lights to better control the flow of traffic.
What has changed is that these millions of sensors, are now connected by high-speed, low-latency fiber networks that have been feverishly deployed of late. And these networks provide the communications infrastructure to transport the tremendous volumes of data to cloud-based systems that will turn numbers into actions.
High-speed fiber is now an integral component of the basic infrastructure just like water, sewer or electric. Broadband Internet is the vehicle that will allow smart cities to realize their potential. Some say fiber is the final solution to enable municipalities to become a smart city.
Is it? In many cases yes, but in many other cases, especially where DAS and small cells are concerned, wireless will be just as important. Stay tuned for further dissection of this topic.