Here we go again, getting ready for another smart city get-together in Barcelona — one of the world’s great cities and always an enjoyable and educational event. The Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 promises to be even more engaging this year, with a theme that reminds us that cities are “made of dreams.”
What I’m dreaming about this year is moving beyond proofs of concept. Let’s start implementing smart city solutions at scale. Yes, I’m dreaming big! The Nokia team will be showcasing our ‘city as a platform’ vision for achieving scale, providing the necessary connectivity to join IoT devices and sensors, the cloud and citizens, whether they’re at home, work or play.
Our platform approach starts from a different place than many smart city projects. Virtually every smart city project needs network connectivity, access to the cloud, and data and device management. Our idea is for cities to deploy a city-wide smart network platform with all of these functions built-in. That way, every smart city application can leverage the capabilities and build on and contribute to the development of the platform.
5G is a very big part of this dream, of course. It has a lot of new capabilities that will unleash digital, making broadband connectivity truly pervasive — connecting everything and everyone. Besides ultra-broadband, it enables automation with super-fast, almost instant communication between smart machines. It supports low-power IoT sensors and devices and, it is highly scalable, being built on virtual network functions that can be ramped up and down on demand.
We’re hosting a “5G for cities” demo on our booth (#B249) focusing on some of the new applications and use cases that 5G will make possible. We will also discuss what things cities can do to bring 5G to their cities faster. And we’ll share some early findings from a 5G smart light pole project that Nokia Bell Labs is participating in with the city of Espoo, Finland.
A key area of focus of many cities is on resilience. We will have a demo on the booth that touches on this side of things; it shows how a fully connected city can be more resilient in the face of natural disasters.
Smart cities generate a lot of data, far more than any human could filter. This is where software analytics step in. They are able to turn raw data into meaningful insights, uncovering correlations that no one would discover otherwise. Machine learning is very good at understanding normal patterns of behavior and using that understanding to identify anomalies that managers and administrators can focus on to improve their security or operations.
We will be demonstrating the Nokia scene analytics platform on the booth, one of Nokia’s key data platform for cities. We will show how a normal CCTV camera can be turned into a multi-purpose sensor to power many city services. The solution can also incorporate input from other kinds of sensors, including audio and environmental data, to provide improved results.
Last but not least, to not only dream big, but also to deliver big, cities will have to build solutions that span across multiple city domains, and automate the intelligence gathered from insights and analytics. Our integrated operations centers (IOC) will showcase how managing and orchestrating people and resources across many areas helps deliver truly end-to-end services that maximize outcomes.
Going to Barcelona is always an inspiration in itself; I like to take some time off from the event to visit Gaudi’s buildings and sculptures and appreciate the sheer creativity and innovation of his architecture. It is a reminder to us all that when we imagine how we can evolve our cities, we need to have the courage to dream — and dream big!
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