As people increasingly move into urban areas, they bring with them new challenges. City officials face pressure to address issues, including traffic congestion, increased air and water pollution, and energy shortages, all within the constraints of tight budgets.
It is no surprise, therefore, that city planners are eager to roll out IoT-enabled devices to begin addressing these challenges. Smart technology provides an opportunity to optimize existing infrastructure to mitigate the problems associated with overpopulated cities.
But city officials must resist the urge to move too quickly. Putting smart city devices into effect without a common set of IoT standards will be costly. According to recent findings from Machina Research, cities investing in smart technology will waste $341 billion by 2025 if deployment is carried out in a fragmented manner.
Speaking on the need to standardize, Jeremy Green, the study’s principal analyst, explained, “Government bodies investing in smart city initiatives to drive civic improvements are under constant scrutiny to ensure public funds are spent wisely. Furthermore, the existing ‘internet of silos’ approach to IoT deployment is delaying the widespread adoption of IoT solutions…open standards can solve both challenges, ensuring money is invested more efficiently, and dramatically accelerating IoT adoption and growth.”
Bringing standardized infrastructure to smart cities will mean:
– There is agreement among stakeholders on common IoT standards.
– Devices are designed for interoperability.
– A universal, vendor-neutral platform that supports M2M communication and seamless integration of new products into the network.
Standardization would mean more than simply a reduction in cost. Machina’s report also projects a 27 percent increase in the number of devices that could be deployed around smart cities, as well as decreased deployment time and more extensive, complex networks for richer data that is easier to translate into actionable, fiscally rewarding strategies. All these benefits would provide greater opportunities for accelerating technology innovation for developers.
Proponents of bringing a common set of standards to smart city IoT deployments have one tool at their disposal already: 4G LTE cellular connectivity. Since its rollout, LTE has become a vital connectivity solution for metropolitan areas. The superior range of 4G LTE gives a greater number of devices access to connectivity compared to 3G or Wi-Fi. The encryption and failover components of LTE provide the security necessary for connecting critical city infrastructure, while the robust connection also meets the bandwidth needs to connect a huge number of devices in a compact metropolitan area. And because no one organization has a claim to ownership of LTE, it can function as a vendor-neutral platform for IoT deployment.
When it comes to the potential benefits the IoT can bring to urban areas, the sky is the limit. But city officials must be urged to develop a common set of standards to ensure an efficiency and cost-effectiveness. With nearly ubiquitous 4G LTE coverage for most metropolitan areas, we’re starting off on the right foot.