Smart cities won’t get smart on their own
Smart cities have won a lot of headlines recently with various independent projects popping up. But what about the possibility of a smart Europe? As the phenomenon picks up momentum the EU is trying to accelerate smart city deployment across the region by aiding development of open standards that aim to help manage data flow in cities by 2020.
One of these initiatives, BIoTope, is an EU-backed project aiming to create a ‘habitat’ for the internet of things (IoT) by ‘building an IoT open innovation ecosystem for connected smart objects’. BIoTope is attempting to create standardised APIs that ‘enable the publication, consumption and composition of heterogeneous information sources and services from across various IoT data platforms’. Essentially, the idea is to allow different smart objects to talk to each other.
Using these APIs should allow firms to create applications that immediately fit into a cities ‘application puzzle’ without worrying about how a traffic light management program may interfere with a parking space allocation program for instance.
However significant bandwidth is needed to connect an entire city to its smart object endpoints and 5G is the most likely candidate here, given that wireless is really the only solution for connecting millions of cars and other static objects such as traffic lights. But the biggest consideration is what happens when this data hits the base station and antennae. Experts predict the amount of backhaul antennas connected directly to a data centre by gigabit-enabled connections will need to increase between five and ten fold to carry the additional traffic.