In Smart Cities: The Future of Urban Areas, Part 2 of this blog series I described the “smart cities” initiative that has taken place in two of Mexico’s biggest cities: Guadalajara and Mexico City (see Figure 1). In Italy, Milano has started a project to become a smart city.
(Source: Schneider Electric)
The communication infrastructure of future smart cities can be used for connecting all the smart systems that are able to manage the electric power in an automated mode, making it possible to increase the energy saving and the safety of big urban areas.
The data contained in this infrastructure has to be correctly protected; hence many regulatory standards are needed.
The effectiveness and the reliability of the communication protocols is a key point to ensure the success of this initiative, which holds the promise of making people who live in big cities more connected and making their lives more comfortable.
There is also the need for standardization of the communication protocols of the infrastructures carrying the data of smart cities, because it’s very important that the standards don’t depend strongly on the country where the smart city is placed. A wide variety of different communication standards for different countries might create confusion and lack of reliability of the overall system. The answer to this need is represented by the efforts of standards associations like the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA):
- “As products and solutions are becoming ever more complex, the successful realization of products requires the use of multiple technologies and components,” explains Dr. John Kulick, Vice-Chair of the IEEE-SA Standards Board. “Standards provide the natural means for engineers to incorporate different components into their work. Familiarity with standards allows engineers to more quickly adapt necessary technology to projects under development. This utilization of standards can lead to shortened time to market which is important in today’s competitive marketplace.”
The importance of a reliable and secured system for wireless communication of smart objects with the cloud inside a smart city is reflected in the initiative of a top company in the field of the Internet of Things, Freescale, which has adopted the Thread Networking Protocol, a communication protocol for networking a smart house with the cloud of connected devices in the infrastructures of a smart city (see Figure 2).
(Source Thread Group)
The smart objects can be inserted inside the home and are able to communicate with each other by a low-power communication technology, and the smart houses are connected to the cloud by a wireless protocol that has to be reliable and safe, to guarantee the effectiveness of the services by remote access and the privacy of the data exchanged across the smart city communication infrastructure. A citizen of a smart city can control his home by means of his smartphone or tablet, and he can switch on or off the thermostats, he is able to control the lights, he can check the security systems, and he can be informed of unauthorized access by an alarm message. These are only a few of the possible features that a smart house can offer, and hence the smart city might be an efficient environment for the networking of these very comfortable smart homes.
Do you think that the wireless networking of smart buildings, like the smart homes, of smart cities will be effective and safe? The big volume of data exchanged in a smart city has to be managed by a wide-band communication system: Do you think that the realization and the maintenance of this communication infrastructure will be expensive?