Rethinking the smart-city experience
Over the past few months, we’ve seen the world transform around us. It’s clear that cities will be affected in the long-term, making reflection on the emerging technologies shaping future outcomes critical now.
The emergence of 5G networks and boundless broadband deployment has the potential to change the way cities and counties across the country define their digital future. The promise of mobile gigabit connectivity, low latency and unprecedented device density offers new and exciting developments that affect every aspect of public life, from intelligent transportation to public safety and waste management. Additionally, the pandemic is shining additional light on the digital divide—and we’re seeing that an increased focus on greater connectivity and broadband access has potential to fill coverage gaps.
While the country has not yet experienced a massive broadband expansion, some cities are already taking advantage of the benefits of enhanced connectivity. For example, the City of San Jose established a Digital Inclusion Fund during negotiations with major telecom providers to connect underserved neighborhoods to broadband. As governments look to rebuild, more cities will realize the benefits of enhanced connectivity like broadband to ensure all residents have access to digital services.
With processes already established to facilitate new infrastructure, major metropolitan areas will be among the first to welcome these economic benefits. In these environments, enhanced connectivity forms the backbone for smart city communications and applications, enabling networks to carry real-time information needed to create the analytics that makes cities “smart.” These connections between almost every type of smart device, appliance or machine, will allow cities to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, manage waste disposal, conserve energy and optimize the efficiency of utilities.
Emerging 5G capabilities will even facilitate communications between smart, and eventually driverless, cars that will connect to the larger smart city network. With 5G networks touted as having latency rates of under a millisecond, near-instantaneous delivery of information will support rapid responsiveness needed by autonomous cars and trucks when confronting an imminent danger like a giant pothole—or a pedestrian.
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