LIVE FROM TM FORUM SMART CITY: Keynote speakers at the second Smart City conference in Yinchuan, China, warned that in their rush to roll out services to boost efficiency and enhance engagement with citizens, authorities need to use common platforms to ensure interaction between cities.

Jordi Puignero, secretary for ICT governance for Catalunya, said rapid advances in technology, particularly virtualisation, will change everything over the next 10 to 15 years and cities need to be prepared for this “revolution”. But he said city planners have to be careful not to end up creating isolated deployments.

“We want our smart cities to collaborate on a common platform that can share resources,” he said.

TM Forum president and CEO Peter Sany, agreed, saying the platforms must be interoperable so they can be shared. “Cities need to develop common assets that can be used by all.”

He said last year the focus was on how cities were connecting ecosystems to ecosystems, bringing together siloed departments and agencies to boost efficiency and increase value.

While there’s been much success in this area, he said the focus needs to be expanded beyond individual cities. As a city is an ecosystem of ecosystems, he explained that the world is an ecosystem of city ecosystems. “We need to think of this as an intermeshed value system, where everything can and should be talking to everything to reduce friction in the system.”

He said that those that understand how to make that work, on the technical level but also on a collaborative level, will be the winners. “Collaboration and co-creation are absolutely essential.”

Jane Chen, ZTE’s CIO and chief strategy office, said that the smart city model needs to evolve as the technology matures.

“Smart city 1.0 had isolated modules with a decentralised construction, which created data silos. The next phase, smart city 2.0, make use of data aggregation to create common objectives, a common architecture and common overall resource planning.”

Puignero from Catalunya said the EU’s 2020 goals to provide all citizens with 30Mb/s broadband speeds and 50 per cent of the population with 100Mb/s speeds are very important “because there are no smart cities without connected citizens. Proving fibre and 4G and 5G connectivity is one of our important goals”.