With 5G networks on the horizon, there are various areas of society that are set to reap the benefits of these new, cutting edge technologies. From industrial sectors to public infrastructure, entertainment and events, e-democracy and many more, 5G will make a significant impact on both how we connect and interact with technology, and how much we will likely come to rely upon it to provide many of our society’s essential services in the not-too-distant future.
Smart city development has certainly begun to take shape in various countries around the world over the last few years and there are now many different examples of smart city technologies utilizing recent innovations such as automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help enable enhanced services, new revenue streams and further utilization of Big Data.
In this article, we’ll be examining the different ways in which the introduction of 5G wireless networks could influence the future of smart city development and how, by using innovative new technologies such as the AI, automation, and the IoT, these networks could become integral to the success of smart city initiatives around the world.
For starters, introducing better ways for these technologies to communicate with each other while part of city-wide smart networks in order to enable other services and applications.
The concept of smart cities encompasses much more than just wireless networks, with a plethora of technologies enabling such frameworks to be feasible. However, 5G wireless networks will greatly enhance the capabilities of many of the features inherent in smart cities such as traffic management systems, network slicing and prioritization, essential services communications, and city-wide surveillance schemes, to name but a few.
The areas of coverage provided by 5G networks, for example, alongside greater flexibility and reliability as well as vastly improved performance will assist in tackling many of the challenges faced by countries and states looking to start investing in or expanding their smart cities.
The technological strides we have made in recent years are now enabling us to delve deeper into what is possible when it comes to developing smart cities. Higher data sharing speeds mean innovations such as autonomous cars and real-time broadcasting and streaming for reporters and surveillance systems will become much more streamlined and reliable. Reducing latency rates in areas such as this could also work to enhance public safety and reduce traffic accidents.
Using infrastructure capable of real-time communications could also benefit both the economy and the environment. These systems would be connected to power grids and could be used to increase or reduce power supplies more accurately depending on consumption rates, helping to save the environment and possibly reduce overall energy usage through the integration of low-power IoT devices.
Data and Devices
As well as connected infrastructure, the rise of the IoT and 5G wireless networks has also spurned on an increase in the number of connected devices and, therefore, the amount of data we produce.
Given that has been predicted that the number of connected devices will reach tens of billions by the 2020’s, smart cities will need networks capable of handling data in those kinds of volumes in order to reach their full potential.
From smartphones and IoT sensors to IP surveillance cameras and predicative maintenance systems, smart drones and more, the number of connected devices and technologies within smart cities is growing and, with more data available to harvest than ever before, will likely continue to grow. These devices can also enable better ways to deliver existing public services such as public transport, healthcare, and emergency services.
Wearable healthcare devices, for example, could help to bring much more detailed patient information to first responders as they make their way to the patient, giving them more time to assess the situation and provide the necessary care and treatment as required. 5G-powered “super ambulances”, equipped with the latest equipment would also enable a higher level of mobile treatment than is currently feasible.
5G networks could also help to vastly increase public safety when utilized throughout smart city development. In order to make our cities safer, emergency services such as the police, paramedics and fire and rescue services will need rugged and reliable communication systems, for example, in order to be best prepared to perform their duties.
Surveillance systems located throughout smart cities could be utilized to provide real-time data on incidents occurring in their vicinity to law enforcement agencies as well as record and analyse the footage to provide further insights and analysis later on. The integration of artificial intelligence into such systems could even have them running images picked up on facial recognition technologies through police databases to identify suspects.
As well as surveillance and security alongside the emergency services, 5G networks would better enable vehicles, tools, and equipment to report on their repair status so as to avoid unscheduled downtime or malfunctions of any size or severity. This could help reduce incidents within public transport and improve the safety of smart cities and their transportation systems.
You can find out more about how 5G wireless networks could become essential to the emergency services in our three-part series of articles on 5G which you can find here.