A survey conducted by Fotech Solutions reveals that the appetite for smart city progress remains strong and highlights the need for more practical approaches to creating smart systems.
Four-fifths of smart city leaders would be more likely to invest in a smart city project if based on existing infrastructure rather than requiring the installation of new technology, a new study finds.
The research, conducted by technology company Fotech Solutions, also revealed more than one third of respondents (35 per cent) highlighted the cost of deployment as the biggest barrier to implementing smart city technology. This was only behind data privacy concerns which were considered the main barrier by half (49 per cent) of those surveyed.
According to Fotech, this finding suggests that, while enhancing the “data view” of cities is essential to providing the insight needed to meet the demands of urbanisation and societal changes, the assumption that entirely new infrastructure will be at the heart of these systems may be false.
While the current Covid-19 pandemic is causing some doubt around the future direction of smart cities, more than half of the 100 city leaders surveyed (54 per cent) expect the pandemic to accelerate projects, compared to two-fifths (41 per cent) that expect delays as a result of the crisis.
“The findings of this research not only demonstrate that the appetite for smart city progress remains strong, they also highlight the need for more practical approaches to creating smart city systems – using innovation to extract more value from infrastructure that has already been expensively installed,” said Chris Shannon, CEO, Fotech Solutions, which develops distributed acoustic sensor (DAS) solutions.
“Avoiding the cost and disruption of rolling out new technologies and capitalising on existing infrastructure – such as fibre optic networks and 4G technology for example – could have huge benefits for cities around the world and significantly shorten the ‘time-to-value’ for smart city projects.”
He continued: “Indeed, what is very poorly understood and often overlooked today is the idea that the fibre cables themselves can actually be used as sensors in their own right – reducing, or eliminating, the need for new infrastructure.”
Fotech suggests an example of a more pragmatic approach to smart cities would be technologies like its DAS that capitalise on the thousands of kilometres of optical fibres already in place in our cities.
“Avoiding the cost and disruption of rolling out new technologies and capitalising on existing infrastructure could have huge benefits for cities around the world and significantly shorten the ‘time-to-value’ for smart city projects”
DAS augments existing fibre networks by converting the cables into a “network of state-of-the-art sensors” that can detect the huge array of acoustic ‘signatures’ generated by human and vehicle activity taking place in a city. Given the coverage fibre networks provide in cities, such a system could provide full citywide monitoring of traffic flows, security threats, and even pedestrian footfall, the company claims.
Headquartered in the UK, Fotech Solutions develops DAS solutions for the smart city, infrastructure, pipeline, and security markets.
To find out more about how DAS can help to build smarter cities, register for our webinar on Wednesday 9 September at the link below. Fotech will show how the fibres below our feet can detect our footsteps and the movements of vehicles on the road beside us, producing data which can be used to control traffic in an intelligent way to reduce congestion and emissions and improve air quality and safety.
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