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What role will telcos play in smart cities?

One of the most important factors, it says, is access to the core network and delivery of OSS/BSS functionality in the backend. If smart city and home projects don’t have core OSS and BSS implemented, then consumers will not be able to pay for the services they use.

The report also suggests that telcos will be vitally important for on-boarding new customers of IoT services. It estimates that the average portfolio of IoT services would be several thousand devices, many of which need to be interoperable at the protocol level. Furthermore, operators will then be responsible for analysing data in the most appropriate fashion in order to understand the data being recorded by devices.

In order to make all of this possible operators are also increasingly expected to deliver the dashboard and user interface for enterprise customers, so that enterprises can visualise and analyse data, and then create actions where necessary, it says.

The report also notes a further interesting development, in that telcos are now expected to deliver technology solutions in demand to city and building requirements – a reversal of the traditional telco/client relationship, in which technology adoption was driven by the telcos. Increasingly, city and property developers are defining what they want from a technology solution and approaching operators to provide the right requirements.

We’ve already experienced this and seen what this will mean for the traditional telco value chain. In the past, vendors would sell to operators, either directly, through reseller channels or else via partnerships. Operators would deliver the service and charge the customer for the product delivered. Typically, operators had the upper hand.

With smart cities, the dynamic changes. City decision makers will have increasingly complex requirements and must manage a complete portfolio of services that will diversify and grow. What they need today may not be what they need in five years’ time – so operators need to be sure they can deliver the networks that support a range of requirements that are not fully understood today, and which can be sustained over a much longer time horizon than has traditionally been the case.

Furthermore, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy, 25% of global water, 40% of global resources and emit around one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Communications networks have a significant role to play in reducing this consumption, so there’s a huge opportunity for operators. Can they get this right?

Challenges such as these will be discussed at an event that we regularly organise, in conjunction with our friends at Hansecom. Smart Mobility Summit 2017 will be held in Lisbon on 3-4 May. The first day of the event is dedicated to smart cities and the IoT, and we have already secured some of the industry’s leading experts to present at the event, who will bring perspectives and insight from across Europe, including London, Berlin, Empaoli, Lisbon, Tallinn, Bristol, and the Catalan region of Spain, and we are in discussion with many more.

The second day will focus on the connectivity technologies that will make smart cities and homes a reality, as well as the roadmap from 4G to 5G.

The industry is on the verge of a huge transformation, and here at Redmill Marketing Associates we want all of our clients to be prepared for that journey, and it’s why we are so excited not only about the upcoming Lisbon event, but also about the future of the industry.