IIoT: A Solid Connectivity Delivers a Smarter City

Learn what the keys are to establishing your municipality’s smart city foundation.

Read Time: 6 minutes

For many cities, well-lit streets are seen as vital to pedestrian and vehicle safety and are becoming increasingly important to municipalities looking to implement smart city programs. Broad use of street lighting also helps facilitate evening use of parks, plazas and other areas for outdoor activities, creating vibrant community spaces. For both environmental and economic reasons, many municipalities and utilities are investigating ways to improve lighting efficiency for the public realm. Innovations in street light controller management software offer a clear view on ROI (return on investment) for customers, and can help them to further realize energy and cost savings while reducing the city’s carbon footprint and increasing use of public spaces

For the last half-century, many cities were – and are still – illuminated by both high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide fixtures that by today’s standards are very inefficient. To reduce energy use, cities are exploring Light Emitting Diode (LED) and or networked street lighting technology as a new beginning. Because cost per LED is significantly reduced, the conversion of HPS to LED is viewed as a must have for many cities to improve city wide services and customer satisfaction. According to a report by Northeast Group, LLC [1]for the forecast period of 2017-2027:

  • Across 125 countries, 264M LED streetlights will be added over the next 10 years, reaching a penetration rate of 89%.
  • Decorative streetlights will have value of $14B
  • Cities and utilities will network an estimated 95M streetlights

Utilities and city administrations across the world are looking to harness information and communication technologies in ways that help address the many challenges of urbanization. Traffic congestion, waste disposal and rising energy usage are all common challenges can be used to deliver smart city initiatives that improve citizens’ quality of life, make public services more efficient, generate new sources of revenue and fuel economic growth.

What is Smart City?

A smart city makes extensive use of information and communication technologies, including RF communication, to improve the quality of life of its citizens in a sustainable way. By combining and sharing disparate data sets that are captured by any number of devices, a city’s people, infrastructure and vehicles can help generate new insight. The city, in turn, is able to provide ubiquitous services that enable real-time information about city services or traffic patterns, all while improving the efficiency of city operations.

Many cities are particularly interested in exploring strategies that:

  • Improve public safety
  • Improve the delivery of public goods and services such as:
    • utility meter reading and billing
    • automated communication with residents and visitors about street closures and other local activities (e.g., street sweeping, recycling, snow plowing, etc.)
    • parking management
    • wayfinding
  • Improve City communications technology infrastructure by:
    • increasing access to affordable broadband services, especially in underserved communities
    • accelerating the deployment of small cells to improve cellular coverage
  • Promote city economic development by:
    • creating local jobs; or
    • increasing cities competitive advantage in attracting businesses or highly talented residents
  • Speed the deployment of the Array of Things sensor nodes, which provide environmental and other publicly available data to enable researchers to develop solutions to urban problems
  • Generate additional City revenue that may be leveraged to operate the network and support City services



But, achieving these goals aren’t without their challenges. Cities across the globe have the desire and motivation to be “Smart” cities but their main constraint is often navigating some common roadblocks. Many common challenges for cities across the globe include:

  • Cycles of political changes that can create unforeseen circumstances
  • Cities are complicated, and there isn’t a single system capable of resolving everything – often funding is a key missing resource
  • Strategic planning and governance are often the first missing step for most of the cities
  • Every city has different needs and priorities, and models must be adapted to the context of each place
  • Emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence creates exclusion of collective intelligence of people instead of contributing what each knows best. So, in the context of a city, mutual integration is the key milestone.

To solve the problems surrounding urbanization and to better design livable, sustainable cities of the future, cities need to adopt a far more strategic approach, of which technology is only one part. In order to best understand the issues that their constituents face, cities need collaborative and citizen-centric technology solutions that are designed to be multipurpose, open and secure. Functional clusters such as energy, mobility, environmental sustainability, public services and buildings can all benefit from a connected network that streamlines data and provides real, actionable insights.

To reach to the “Smart” milestone cities are looking at four important tasks:

  1. Collecting: Cities need to collect information about itself through sensors and other connected devices
  2. Communication: Cities need connectivity that is purpose built, secure and offers reliability as a quality of service
  3. Understand: Analyze data to drive meaningful actions and applications to serve citizens and plan for future

Cities need infrastructure solutions that enable actionable intelligence with open and secure networks that provide a frictionless exchange of data needs. Today most cities have acknowledged that the process of digitization needs to start with system of use for cities daily activities. But, how do they manage the evolving systems efficiently and serve citizens effectively? Trilliant’s hybrid wireless communication platform is built for interoperability with a large ecosystem of partners, enabling cities to adapt continuous innovation and secure future proofing as needs evolve. The standardized design of networks offers seamless data flow management and allows real time customer interaction. When each location has its own needs and priorities it is critical to transform the framework of cities vision and the driver of digital transformation offering a single pane of glass with a digitally connected future. With this approach cities can create a cost effective, device agnostic platform, create a long-term leverage asset across the enterprise with many revenue generation possibilities.

The world is urbanizing fast and municipalities realize that they need to make far better use of RF communication in order to enable millions of people to live together successfully in small geographic areas. In my next post, we’ll examine type of network that is needed to support the emerging smart city.

[1] Global LED and Smart Street Lighting: Market Forecast (2017-2027) Public Outdoor Lighting Market