The implementation of smart city initiatives seeks to digitally transform sectors and industries to achieve economic, social and environmental goals. – File pic
THE Asean Secretariat says around half the population in Asean live in urban areas, and by 2025, a further 70 million will be city dwellers.
The need for these urban areas to become smarter and more resilient has become more urgent.
In the wake of the pandemic and the productivity gaps it has exposed, governments have prioritised the use of technologies — such as 5G, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence — to augment their cities.
The implementation of smart city initiatives seeks to digitally transform sectors and industries to achieve economic, social and environmental goals.
To improve connectivity and convenience, smart city initiatives often rely on technologies heavily dependent on data sharing and insights into consumer and customer behaviour.
Traffic data can determine patterns that will help transportation departments alleviate congestion, sources of water leaks can be pinpointed for repairs, and public safety can be improved with smart surveillance measures.
In Singapore, improving urban mobility has been a key focus of the government since the early 1990s.
Today, it is known for having one of the best transport systems in the world, thanks to initiatives under the national strategic plan for Intelligent Transport Systems, or Smart Mobility 2030.
Using consolidated data from sensors, devices and cameras across the island, the authorities can monitor and manage traffic flow, while maximising road capacity and enhancing transport policies.
In Bandung, Indonesia, a number of software applications were developed to make government services more efficient.
This included Gampil, a mobile application enabling small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) to register online.
As a result, the city saw the creation of 60,000 SMEs within three months.
But having the right regulations is only half the job done.
Smart cities need to have an agile digital backbone in place so that new initiatives and technologies can be implemented on a mass scale swiftly.
A recent report by Deloitte said nearly a quarter of cities in Asia cited inadequate digital infrastructure and inflexible legacy systems as the main obstacles to achieving scalability, affecting their ability to reach developmental and growth targets.
Furthermore, disruptive technologies often demand flexibility, and are bandwidth-and data-intensive.
For instance, advanced medical imaging requires 4.8 Gb/s to 320 Gb/s for a single file set.
To meet the connectivity needs of smart cities, the underlying network should be able to adapt intuitively.
For example, during mass-impact incidents or other periods of sudden communication needs, the network needs the ability to shift bandwidth when and where it’s most required.
Unplanned traffic outages can result in productivity and economic loss, especially during a time when we are increasingly dependent on digital services for work and leisure.
As such, the network powering smart cities should have the ability to analyse data patterns, identify when and where a potential network outage will occur, and take action.
This process should be automated so that when problems do occur, the network can conduct root-cause analysis, incorporate key learnings, and enable managers to adjust policies accordingly.
Using a combination of artificial intelligence, software control and automation, and a programmable infrastructure, will allow the network to rapidly scale, self-configure, and self-optimise.
In Portugal, the organisation managing the two main energy networks, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), relies on route optimisation and analysis technology to troubleshoot and maintain reliability in their IP multi-protocol label switching network.
Having visibility of the behaviour of their network enables REN to identify and diagnose problems faster, ensuring reliable service delivery to support the country’s power grid.
As governments work to promote growth in cities by improving infrastructure and boosting services, strong and robust connectivity from a dynamic and flexible network will simplify the complexities along the way.
In today’s evolving world, the ability to pivot and adjust resources swiftly when required is an essential building block of smart cities and networks.