LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS AMERICAS 2017: Success for smart city projects will hinge on factors including development of a smart city ecosystem, regulation and the expansion of public private partnerships, but it “starts with top-down leadership in the city”, Arvind Satyam, MD of smart cities and IoT at Cisco, said.
“If there is strong support from a mayor then these projects will get prioritised and connecting the silos will become easier,” he said.
“European cities have historically been investing in smart city projects earlier than North American cities. Their investment in these projects started during the downturn as they saw it as a way to more efficiently manage infrastructure and over time save costs. Investing in a smart lighting project can lead up to a 60 per cent reduction in energy spend and a pay back in the first five to six years,” Satyam said.
“Other projects like parking have resulted in net new revenue for cities. These projects can be funded by shifting existing spend into a more efficient model. The European Union is also providing funding for projects that lead to a reduction in carbon emissions and other use cases,” he continued.
Alongside government-led projects, private investors such as infrastructure funds and pension funds are “really interested” in funding this new wave of IoT enabled infrastructure projects in cities, the Cisco executive noted. “We are starting to see successful PPP models develop between industry, government and private financiers to scale these projects.”
Use cases that are being prioritised address the most common pain points in cities, “but also provide a compelling return-on-investment for cities and solution providers. Most mayors deal with challenges around traffic, parking, safety & securing and pollution,” Satyam said, noting that additional use cases include smart lighting, due to the potential to significantly cut energy spending, and waste management.
He also pointed out the areas where operators can play in this space.
“Telecoms operators have existing fibre, wired and wireless network investments in cities. They can leverage existing infrastructure to rollout smart city services. They also have experience in providing reliable services which is a key value add in providing mission critical smart city solutions like lighting and physical security,” Satyam said.