5G Should Accelerate the Advent of Smart Cities

Singapore stands out with its Smart Nation project. The smart security cameras on Singapore’s streets are helping to reduce congestion based on the volume of traffic, as well as sensors installed on taxis.

After autonomous taxis, the city-state is working to set up air taxis, with the participation of Volocopter. Surveillance projects for the elderly through motion detectors to prevent accidents are also on the agenda. As a nation-state, Singapore is more successful in implementing innovative programs through its centralized governance system.

Towards digital governance
As a pioneer in terms of innovation and digital technology, Estonia is going further in digitalisation with the e-Estonia platform, where 99% of services are available online. This platform state, as some call it, aims to overcome the bureaucracy, set up cross-border digital governance and a real-time economy. Among the services available, the online vote or the creation of a company. “Getting married or divorcing and selling a real estate are the only steps that can not be done online … At least not yet,” reads the e-Estonia platform which aims to integrate soon intelligence artificial in the public service. For Tallin, the smart city idea is mainly to offer its citizens state-of-the-art technology and to make them willing to use it.

Other countries and cities around the world are moving in this direction, such as South Korea, which recently announced the introduction of a smartphone driver’s license.

Smart city, IoT, 5G and Big data

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are groups of objects connected to the Internet. They play an important role in the development of smart cities because they allow for example to monitor air pollution and “detect changes in real time”, as explained by Prof. Pieter Ballon, Director of the Research Group on Media Studies, Innovation and Technology, VUB.

“The only way to intervene with regard to traffic jams or pollution peaks is through the network that provides crucial data to address these challenges,” says the professor. “In addition to these captured data, it is necessary to have smart devices to act, which can be used for autonomous shuttles or security cameras and distribute the technology through the area,” he continues. Finally, to distribute these devices, it is necessary to have a network able to support them and this is partly what the 5G serves. This is how big data makes it possible to detect trends in what is happening and in what we see in real time, but also to interact with citizens.

In Europe, more and more cities are considering big data and the Internet of Things in designing new neighborhoods. The establishment of such structures, however, requires significant funds. The deployment of 5G networks could thus greatly contribute to the development of Smart Cities on the old continent.