Telcos and smart cities: we need to talk the same language

News

Smart cities depend on connectivity, but do they know what else network operators have to offer and do operators understand cities’ needs?

These are urgent questions because cities around the world are working on becoming smart right now and the stakes – and potential rewards for all stakeholders – are huge: estimates about the size of the market vary from $135 billion by 2022 to $2 trillion by 2025.

Major forces are driving this movement including overcrowding, climate change, noise pollution, congestion, green waste disposal and so much more.

Telcos are fundamental to the success of smart cities, which offer them many potential new revenue streams that capitalise on their underlying capacities.

For telcos to earn a bigger slice of the pie and give cities more of what they require, they’ll need to offer more than just connectivity.

Beyond the dumb pipe

Some of the growing and emerging roles beyond the ‘dumb pipe’ connectivity provider include:
• ’smart pipes’ which is offering premium and tailored connectivity services via 5G network slicing, for example; n
• on-connectivity services such as providing analytics, applications, security and other end-to-end capabilities, both to cities directly and to various verticals within the smart city; and
• aggregator whereby a lead partner can call on an ecosystem of specialist companies to deliver a range of services to the city.

The questions are, though:
• Are cities looking to operators for capabilities and services beyond connectivity?
• if not, why not – is it because they don’t know telcos can offer?
• Are cities and telcos, which are very different public and private entities, moving at the same speed and in the same direction?
• Do the financial stack up for both sides?

We’re undertaking new research to find out, in association with our sister publication Smart Cities World.

We want to know:

•    What are the main opportunities for cities, operators and the wider telecom ecosystem to work together to deliver smarter cities?
•    What are the challenges to making this a reality? Technology, culture or cold, hard cash?
•    What do cities need from smart partners such as telco operators that they’re not getting?
•    What services can operators and other partners offer? What are the different roles they can play in the smart city?
•    How successful have partnerships been so far? What can be learned from this for the future?
•    Do the financials of smart cities stack up for cities, operators and the wider stakeholders? How might this evolve?

If you’re a representative from a city, operator or vendor, please take a few moments to fill out the survey and have your say.
 
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