URENIO Watch: Intelligent cities – smart cities – innovation ecosystems

How 5G Can Help Municipalities Become Vibrant Smart Cities

Posted by Elvira Galanaki at 13 February 2017 in Innovation

The next generation of wireless network infrastructure will be built using small-cell networks employing 5G wireless technology. This report presents how the connectivity and computing capacity unleashed by these high-speed wireless networks can have significant economic and community benefits, through reductions in energy usage, traffic congestion and fuel costs, or by creating jobs as well as entire new industries across the United States.

The full potential of Smart Cities will be unlocked by 5G networks and small cells. Telecom operators could invest large amounts to deploy next-generation wireless technology, while faster internet connections could result in creating a more competitive workforce in different localities – which would, in turn, attract higher-paying jobs. Deploying the infrastructure required for 5G will also create new construction jobs.

Three main areas which can benefit greatly from 5G networks and small cells are presented:

Energy & Utilities

5G technology will help unleash the next wave of Smart Grid features and efficiency. By allowing many unconnected, energy-consuming devices to be integrated into a smart grid, demand-side management will be further enhanced to support load balancing, helping reduce electricity peaks and ultimately reduce energy costs.

Another example of utilizing 5G technologies is smart lighting. By automatically dimming public lighting when no pedestrians or vehicles are present, smart lighting can save power and reduce light pollution while still keeping neighborhoods safe.

Transportation

By leveraging next-generation wireless technology, communities can improve their transportation systems – enhancing public transportation, reducing traffic congestion, and generating revenue from public parking efficiencies.

5G vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) could allow lead cars to communicate hazards to following cars, increasing reaction time and safely allowing car convoys.

Advanced wireless connectivity and low-cost sensors could help in identifying open parking spaces and increasing parking revenue. Reduce time to find parking and congestion benefits all commuters and encourages traffic to commercial areas, boosting economic activity.

Public Safety

Deployment of 5G in a Smart City can enable the integration of video surveillance, with access to specific locations, pole by pole, in ultrahigh definition. This capability would allow responders to use facial recognition to identify known criminals or spot missing persons before arriving on the scene.

Deploying Next-Generation Wireless Infrastructure

While the benefits of pervasive small-cell 5G technology are highly significant, these 5G networks will require a wireless infrastructure that is significantly denser than that required by 4G.

The challenges in this area are threefold:

  • local permitting and regulations
  • access to public rights of way
  • fee structures

Municipal leaders can take a number of steps to improve the rollout process and address these three main areas of challenge, such as batch approvals, accelerated timelines, providing access to sites and government-owned utility poles and fee structure update.

The evolution of 5G wireless technology, which will create the advanced infrastructure needed for Smart Cities, has reached a very promising juncture – yet also a critical one. To reach its full potential, and unlock the full benefits of Smart Cities, communities need to support small-cell deployments to enable a 5th generation of communications infrastructure.

You can read the full report here.


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