The conceptualization of smart cities varies across cities and countries. But the smart cities leverage the real-time information collected through various devices and sensors to manage their resources, infrastructure, and services more efficiently. The smart city initiatives are driven by a slew of technologies — cloud computing, data centers, big data analytics, robotics, 3D printing, and Internet of Things (IoT). The fifth-generation cellular networks (5G) will provide momentum to these drivers of the smart cities.
According to SmartCitiesWorld.net, “5G is an enabling technology for IoT, and as smart cities essentially rely on IoT to function, 5G and smart cities are inextricably linked. As such, 5G will play a critical role in allowing information gathered through sensors to be transmitted in real time to central monitoring locations.”
5G will help authorities to streamline resources and operations of smart cities by making machines, devices, and sensors exchange data in real-time. The massive machine type communication (MMTC) and critical machine type communication (CMTC) enabled by 5G will help authorities to control, manage, and finetune the infrastructures, resources, and services in the smart city. In addition to making smart cities a reality in many countries, 5G will create many new smart city use cases.
How will 5G Technology Impact and Drive the Smart City Initiatives?
Forming a Web of Connectivity
No country can set up smart cities without ensuring that the real-time information collected using sensors can be transmitted instantly, seamlessly, and securely. 5G focuses on facilitating both massive machine type communication and critical machine type communication. The fifth-generation cellular networks will provide smart cities with a web of connectivity. The connectivity will help authorities to transmit the massive amount of real-time data to central monitoring locations without any restrictions or interruptions. The seamless machine to machine interaction will help authorities to manage resources, infrastructure, and services of the smart city by taking the right decision at the right time.
Improving Traffic and Transportation Management
Intelligent traffic and transport management are one of the important smart city use cases of 5G. 5G networks will provide a solid foundation for the development of autonomous vehicles that make autonomous decisions as well as communicate with other vehicles. Also, the authorities can leverage 5G to set up intelligent traffic management systems in various parts of the smart cities. In addition to providing real-time information about the traffic flow, the 5G-driven traffic management systems will reduce carbon dioxide emission significantly. The telecom operators have been experimenting with smart traffic management systems in various cities to make automated transportation services a reality.
Implementing Intelligent Services
Many telecom operators have been experimenting with 5G using network emulators to build a platform for delivering intelligent services. They plan to set up a robust IoT network by leveraging the key features of 5G. The IoT network will act as a platform for delivering a variety of intelligent services — intelligent lighting, smart parking, water metering, environmental monitoring, and waste management. The service providers can control, manage, and finetune the delivery of the intelligent services by based on real-time information collected through sensors located across the smart city.
Facilitating Real-Time Surveillance
5G will enable authorities to prevent accidents and mishaps by analyzing the surveillance video data in real-time. Instead of viewing the surveillance video data after an incident, the authorities can leverage the real-time surveillance video to respond to the incident proactively. For instance, the 5G-enabled surveillance systems will enable authorities to prevent accidents and respond in real-time by recognizing license plates and monitoring the crowd remotely. The ultra-low latency provided by 5G will enable video surveillance systems to deliver actionable insights to the authorities using video analytics.
Accelerating Healthcare Delivery
5G will keep the residents of the smart cities safe in the post-pandemic worlds by enabling social distancing and physical distancing. Also, the fastest cellular networks will enable the people living in smart cities to access a variety of health care services remotely without visiting hospitals and clinics. The physicians and surgeons can leverage the key features of 5G to provide telemedicine as well as perform robot-assisted services. Also, the patients can get on-time care by based on the data sent by the remote home monitoring systems installed in their homes.
Improving Disabled Citizen’s Quality of Life
Many countries have started experimenting with 5G to make the disabled citizen achieve self-reliance and self-sufficiency. For instance, certain cafes in Japan employ disabled persons as waiters who can cater to the needs of the customers remotely by operating robots. Likewise, specific airports in the USA enable blind passengers to navigate on their own by providing smart glasses with remote video connectivity. The authorities can create more innovative 5G smart city use cases to create employment opportunities and support self-sufficiency for citizens with disabilities.
Improving Public Safety and Security
The data sent by various devices and sensors over the 5G network will help authorities to alert authorities about emergency and dangerous situations instantly. For instance, the authorities can use big data analytics to identify a car accident or predict a terrorist attack based on the insights gained by analyzing the real-time sensor data. Also, the ultra-fast speed and ultra-low latency delivered by 5G will enable authorities to install security monitoring equipment that interacts with each other over a wireless network in both accessible and remote parts of the smart city.
Saving Valuable Resources and Energy
5G has the potential to help consumers, cities, and councils to save both resources and energy.
According to O2’s The Value of 5G for Cities and Communities Report, “Households stand to save £450 a year on energy, council and food bills. At the same time, councils will regain £2.8 billion annually thanks to the introduction of smart lighting and smart refuse collection, as well as improved social care.”
5G will enable the residents of the smart cities to reduce food wastage using smart refrigerators and reduce fuel cost by switching to electric vehicles. Likewise, smart cities can reduce energy consumption significantly using connected bins and smart lights.
In addition to creating many new smart city use cases, 5G will drive smart city initiatives by optimizing IoT. The massive machine-type communication enabled by the fifth-generation cellular networks will help the residents of smart cities operate, control, manage, and monitor a wide variety of IoT devices with almost no human intervention. The combination of 5G and IoT has the potential to transform smart cities into smarter cities.