The M2M workshop gave participants a first-hand insight of the state of the art of IoT technologies applied to Smart City Solutions thanks to the participation of Telco operators (TDC, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone) and of other important stakeholders of IoT (Ericsson, IBM) and lighthouse Smart Cities. The speakers’ presentations and the discussions that followed covered a wide range of pertinent issues, experiences and trend related to M2M technologies and smart cities.
When discussing smart city solutions, it can be useful to widen the perspective and think beyond technology. In fact, looking at what is traditionally considered technology’s opposite, namely nature, it is possible to find inspiration as nature has a unique ability to find – and provide - sustainable solutions that improves city life in many aspects. Our first key note speaker introduced the notion of nature-based solutions supported by sustainable technologies and demonstrated that technology and nature can, and perhaps should, exist in synergy in the smart city.
The second key note speaker gave an interesting presentation discussing the future of the IoT market. Current trends show that the market for Low Voltage Wide Area networks is developing like an avalanche and every week new players emerge. But it is not at all certain that the IoT market will continue to develop. It depends very much on the convergence of competition and standards and in order to be among the winners, the players must choose the right technology now.
From the other presentations in the workshop a number of trends were highlighted. For example, it is clear that new, powerful components are emerging continuously, so much so that the market is becoming cluttered. The components and technical solutions therefore need to find a proper challenge to show that they are scalable before they can carve a position in the market. But if technology meets challenge, the business case is there. Or is it? For every new business model developed, dozens of questions arise and we yet have to find the magic package.
There is general agreement that network infrastructure must be transformed to cope with IoT, but the players disagree on which direction, how much and when. The only sure thing is that radio communication is always in the picture; for example the fast growing market for Nano/Pico satellites calls for more spectrum.
The good news is that the cities (and the citizens) by and large are ready to embrace the new solutions. There are many examples of this across the world but what these examples also show us is that citizen and cities sometimes have a completely different focus than the provider of technological solutions. We need to engage more across the line and understand better what the citizen needs - and what the solutions can provide.
The workshop ended with an important reminder that data privacy and misuse of data are real concerns for many citizens. These concerns can work as a powerful inhibitor for the user acceptance – and adoption – of smart city solutions. It can mean the end of smart city solutions even before they are created. One suggestion to overcome is potentially very real hurdle is for vendors to present a Privacy by Design charter to the users and citizens before each new solution is deployed.
You can find the workshop programme, list of speakers and all the presentations in the download menu here
on October 08 2015
The ALMANAC project is co-funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 609081, objective ICT-2013.1.4 'A reliable, smart and secure Internet of Things for Smart Cities'. Duration: 1st September 2013 to 31st August 2016.