The number of connected devices is increasing. 5G and IoT-driven urban big data are regarded as a key requirement that leads the smart city from concept to successful reality. Different types of information and communication technologies and devices are requisites to speed up the progress of smart cities development. Pedro Salles, General Manager of Europe, Comba Telecom believes technology and wireless network infrastructure are the significant elements for smart cities.
“Technology is one of the important elements of smart cities. As we currently lack a global standard, people are still trying to understand the requirements, the sort of service to provide, and the type of demand from people so as to get a direction to move on. Another important element is the wireless network infrastructure. When we are talking about IoT, it means extremely high capacity. There is a need for infrastructure itself to be able to handle this capacity and even latency demands for some IoT applications”, Pedro said.
It is predicted that the demand for new smart technologies will continue to increase. No doubt there is a big ICT market in accordance with the smart cities. Even there are many opportunities arising from smart cities, Pedro thinks that not all ICT firm can take of share on this piece of cake. They have to get well prepared for the upcoming challenges to enter this race.
“Definitely, there is a big market to look forward to, and the companies have to take the risk to be in the game. The smart city is happening and it is shaping up although nobody knows exactly the full scope of it. Under this circumstance, companies have to invest without a clear immediate return to start the development of products and solution, and testing the case studies. This will be the procedure to really define the standards and eventually the future smart cities”, Pedro said.
Helping public/private sectors to become “smart” in their cities
Smart Cities help optimize living environment and standard. Comba Telecom is well prepared and approaching it from two sides. On one side, Comba’s current infrastructure solutions are ready to provide the capacity, the speed and the low latency for smart cities requirements. “We are well on track to provide those solutions to operators and infrastructure owners wherever they are. So, in terms of infrastructure, we are well on track,” Pedro said.
On the other hand, smart cities will need more than just infrastructure and they will need a wide variety of solutions that will use such infrastructure and, in this respect, Comba is working on a broad solutions portfolio for operators, municipalities and enterprises.
“In order to provide IoT solutions, we are exploring possibilities for partnerships and other collaborations in the specific areas that we plan to cover. The solution will embrace the product or service to provide, the type of business model, the project lead, the right channels and the like. It is important to play strong in this market, and I think Comba has the capacity, the will, and the strength to do it with a clear vision,” Pedro said.
Main Challenges Facing the Smart Cities Deployment in Europe
Smart Cities bring a lot of advantages for both the public and private sectors, enabling connectivity throughout a city and hence enhancing communications of among things. However, smart cities development in Europe is facing challenges.
Pedro commented that the diversity of policies and practices in Europe are the main challenges for smart cities in Europe. “Unlike other markets such as India which have four or five operators in one region, Europe is a very atomized market. There are many similarities, but also a lot of differences. What works for one country may not work for the other country in the European region. It brings a difficulty to the sales level when delivering our own existing solutions, so we need to put a lot of efforts to approach each of the markets and try to find suitable solutions for customers. There is no one solution for all. Given this situation, there is definitely a need for standardization because it helps different markets to align in the same direction," he said.
Key Factor to Achieve 5G Success in Europe
The next generation of mobile technology - 5G greatly benefits IoT, M2M and hence smart cities. Europe is now working hard for the deployment of 5G infrastructure. Pedro believes companies willingness is a major factor to achieve 5G success in the region. “If the management of the company has a solid plan to play in this market, the investment capacity and the resources it will get there. The vision has to come from the top management down to the execution level, only this will make things happen. In short, there has to be a strategy defined from the top down,” he said.
Vision on New Applications
Nowadays everything is becoming smart. We are talking about smart home, smart energy, smart cars and so. Comba is playing in many of these areas and the European team is actively pursuing opportunities in many such solutions. One good example, the smart pole, is one such solution that will contribute to making possible that many different devices can connect to many other devices. Everything is connected to everything, that is the objective. The smart pole can provide a broad range of 5G solutions for the municipality, the operator and the enterprise, and it will allow the individual users to connect to many services and solutions at the same time. It helps in the densification of the network to increase the capacity in specific areas. In the end, everybody wins because the operator may be able to get this site at a lower cost than a rooftop. The municipalities will be able to offer their users interesting services at a low cost and for the users, the benefit is obvious.