Maximising the potential of smart city investments
Cities and communities are utilising smart technologies to solve a range of problems relating to the environment, mobility, crime prevention and economic growth
Trilliant provides 75 of the world’s largest companies with one of the most advanced hybrid wireless communications platforms available today.
The ambition is to transform cities and existing infrastructure to become smart cities which integrate multiple technologies and internet of things (IoT) solutions effectively and securely, to manage a city’s assets sustainably and make people’s lives easier and more efficient.
Here in Ireland, the Smart Docklands project in Dublin is a unique smart city testbed which brings together a wide range of partners to test and trial a variety of smart city solutions in areas such as waste, water, energy, mobility, crime prevention and flooding. In Limerick, smart city technologies are being deployed as part of the EU-funded +CityxChange project which is aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint. Similar initiatives are underway in other cities around the country.
But this is just the beginning, according to Tom Tipple, managing director for EMEA with Trilliant, the global provider of revolutionary smart communications solutions in the industrial internet of things (IIoT), smart energy and smart city spaces.
“With the right technological backbone and integrated communications platform, cities can create a connected system that supports both current and future needs,” he says. “From street lighting to traffic management and environmental controls, the opportunities are endless when the right foundations are in place.”
With a presence in 20 countries, Trilliant provides 75 of the world’s largest companies with one of the most advanced hybrid wireless communications platforms available today, delivering solutions in the areas such as smart energy: advanced energy metering infrastructure; smart water: flow monitoring, flood and ice detection; smart mobility: traffic monitoring and management of electric vehicle charging, smart parking solutions; smart government: environmental monitoring (air quality), refuse/waste collection. The Trilliant platform has already connected millions of devices that enable users around the world to optimise their resources.
Our multi-technology approach provides the flexibility to securely scale a smart city with plug and play connectivity
“Our smart city strategy is on three pillars that come up time and again,” says Tipple. “These are decarbonisation, lifestyle improvement, and cost-efficient use of data. Every city has different smart needs, and these keep changing, but they all require a flexible and scalable infrastructure to deliver them. Our multi-technology approach provides the flexibility to securely scale a smart city with plug and play connectivity.”
According to Tipple, while the potential benefits are vast, careful planning is needed to realise them. “Smart city technology is touted as a path to cost savings and environmental improvements, even fewer traffic jams,” he notes. “On closer inspection, however, the concept faces some roadblocks through a lack of joined-up thinking and execution. Data can end up siloed with systems designed to enhance the delivery of some services unable to interact with the network or other systems. Instead of complete interconnectivity, the result is a series of small projects with good publicity outcomes, but poor return on investment.”
That’s not good enough for a technology that city authorities globally are expected to spend €104 billion on during 2020, especially given the financial challenges of Covid-19, he adds. “Every euro spent on these projects needs to be used wisely.”
To avoid this, cities need to choose communication platforms with open and adaptable interconnectivity, advises Trilliant industrial internet of things (IIoT) solutions architect, Peter O’Donoghue. “Communication platforms form the backbone that holds a successful smart city project together. They should be device agnostic, robust, secure and capable of managing both new applications – including those not invented yet, and existing intelligent devices.”
In many cases, the first step towards the smart city come through the humble street lighting pole, he notes. “This started with the move from high pressure sodium to LED energy saving lights which delivers energy savings of up to 50 per cent,” he notes. “Smart lighting enables a further 10 per cent saving because of better controls and the ability to dim the lights at certain times, and so on. It also cuts down on maintenance costs as you can monitor performance on a central management system. Large volume deployment enables significant savings and once the network is in place it can be used to deploy other smart city services which can be paid for out of the savings made on lighting.”
O’Donoghue is referring to the fact that street lighting poles also make great IoT nodes that can be used to monitor issues like street flooding, charge an e-bike, detect parking availability nearby, and sense air quality. But this is possible only with a unified and interactive communications platform that can ‘talk to’ all these devices. A separate communications platform for each option is costly, inefficient and unsustainable.
“Vendors with an open, secure platform and a robust set of partners provide municipalities with options to select applications and smart city features based on price and performance – not connectivity concerns,” says Tipple.
Trilliant maximises efficiencies and return on investment with its purpose-built communications platform
While an open, agile communications platform can become the backbone for a smart city, it also needs to provide an easy view of the data to enable swift and accurate actions and decisions when needed. Trilliant describes this communications canopy as the “single pane of glass” view. This provides a consolidated, central location for users and managers to view real-time data from any number of devices across an entire connected system.
Along with choosing an open communications platform, there are three issues that municipalities need to address to truly become smart. “First, stop managing in silos, the IoT sensors that provide information need to be able to talk with each other,” Tipple advises. “The second is to connect those IT systems. Cities must choose sensors and technologies that use proprietary technologies to connect with each other.”
The third is to pay attention to cybersecurity. “Hacking the city is a very real threat,” Tipple continues. “One way to manage this is to avoid complete dependence on public cellular networks for the platform, and instead choose a vendor with experience of a secure, private platform that can manage local area networks using a variety of technologies.”
Trilliant maximises efficiencies and return on investment with its purpose-built communications platform which enables utilities and cities to securely and reliably deploy any application – on one powerful network. Trilliant’s IIoT gateway also enables the connection to many different types of existing and new sensor technologies.
“Consider the example of CCTV cameras, often used in cities for crowd sensing, traffic management, people counting or public safety,” says O’Donoghue. “Trilliant’s technology enables the integration of smart video CCTV cameras without the need for fibre if it is not available or too expensive. We achieve this by utilising several different industry standards to create a seamless approach to the smart city.”
“Our platform is purpose-built to deliver connectivity driven outcomes, which enable and optimise smart grid and smart city services, and the expansion of related applications. We have assembled a portfolio of smart networking technology, software, services, and advanced applications which provide our customers with the ability to adapt to continuous innovation and capture future opportunities as their needs evolve. That will also enable cities to begin to reap the benefits that come with better, more accurate access to data and increased control over essential city functions.”
For more information, visit trilliant.com/trilliant-uk/
Supplied by Trilliant