The Smart City is on its way. Its aim is to connect all areas of municipal infrastructure – parking lots, street lighting and traffic lights, even garbage cans and entire stadiums. Amsterdam, Dubrovnik and Budapest belong to the pioneers, as you can read in the first part of this blog post. The city of Prague has similar plans. The Czech capital uses mobility information generated by the Rodos Transport Systems Development Centre to optimize the city’s integrated public transport system. By combining data from mobile networks and traffic monitoring the initiative has been able to build a complex mobility model. Anonymized signaling data from mobile networks enable planners to observe, with full respect of privacy regulations, the distribution of people in time and space and how they move around. This data is combined with several other data sources like Floating Car Data (FCD), toll stations, census data, digital maps and sensors from traffic monitoring. The wide array of possible use cases ranges from urban planning and improving public transport to acquiring tourism statistics and optimizing retail networks.
What all these Smart City applications have in common is the simplification and reorganization of administrative processes. Municipalities are not only cutting their operational costs in this way but are also able to provide a better service to their citizens. This is especially helpful because nowadays cities are in competition with each other. They are in the paradoxical situation of facing major challenges due to massive population growth while at the same time depending on this very growth. They seek to attract people and businesses in order to strengthen their economic position, create jobs, and ensure prosperity.
Meet the challenges ahead
In order to achieve this, some challenges have to be solved. The more areas of a city’s operations benefit and rely on ICT-based applications, the more important is the security of all systems involved. Every single component of Smart City solutions has to be safeguarded – from the applications running on smart devices and the communication network to the backend server. With its reliable networks and highly secure data centers, Deutsche Telekom can provide cities with the trustworthy foundation for an integrated security concept. To ensure the protection of personal data, the data centers comply with the strictest interpretations of local data privacy regulations. Furthermore, connected solutions must provide the greatest possible degree of transparency about the data collected while maintaining the anonymity of users.
Another important challenge for the implementation of Smart City concepts is that the initiatives of individual departments cannot remain cut off from one another. They must be connected in order to realize the full potential of the Internet of Things and create synergies. These include not only cooperation between different departments but also participation of citizens in innovation processes. To build such bridges, open platforms and open standards must be used.