BARCELONA – INFORMATION and communication Technologies (ICT) are key to service delivery and one of the essential factors in promoting growth in the global economy, hence the need for cities around the world to adopt them.
At the ongoing Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 (SCEWC) in Barcelona, Spain, experts hailed ICT as the “nervous system” for the successful implementation of the Smart City solution, a comprehensive system that features top-level design, integration, operations, service applications and new ICT infrastructure.
This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analysed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals and other community services.
Huawei, the multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, is recommending the adoption of such modern technology as artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) by cities in order to provide quality service delivery to their burgeoning populations.
AI is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour while the latter is a system of interrelated computing devices with the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Responding to CAJ News Africa questions at the sidelines of the SCEWC, Huawei Technologies Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in charge of Industry Solutions & Enterprise Business, Joe So, noted global trends towards urbanisation were forcing many cities globally to rethink how they operated.
So pointed out that by 2025, at least 27 megacities (cities with at least 10 million residents) would exist from placing extraordinary pressure on public transportation, hospitals, waste management systems, and the power grid hence prompting the need to embrace the Smart City application.
Among components of the Smart City application include smart rubbish bins, streetlight, watering, building, metering and smart healthcare, which enhance city’s administration efficiency, public security and secure people’s livelihoods.
“Smart City solution deployment is quite challenging. To successfully deploy Smart City would require synergies,” So responded to CAJ News.
The expert noted that in Africa, to an extent, challenges emanating from funding, partnerships, willingness by authorities to implement innovation and synergies hindered the adoption of the Smart City concept.
He thus called for collaborations.
“Every city has its own differences. Different cities require different solutions,” So added.
Africa presently has three megacities, namely Cairo (Egypt), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Lagos (Nigeria). The United Nations predicts there will be 41 megacities by 2030.
Among the highlights of the SCEWC has been the launch of Huawei’s Intelligent Operation Centre (IOC) which is touted to tackle cities’ challenges “the same way the human brain functions.”
IOC infrastructure will connect the digital and physical worlds that distribute cloud data centers and ubiquitous city networks that collect, integrate and share city information, enabling real-time visibility of the city.
It uses an integrated communications platform (ICP) that enables intelligent collaboration across city functions and emergency dispatch of all services.
Huawei believes by using Big Data, machine learning and AI technologies, the IOC delivers valuable insights to facilitate city planning and management of vital services such as transportation and security.
The Chinese company has also 13 OpenLabs around the globe.
At the facilities, the company and its partners conduct joint innovation to build sustainable ecosystems and drive localized Smart City solutions.
The OpenLabs offer an open end-to-end one-stop ICT Infrastructure platform where partners test and verify their solutions in actual network environment, leverage research, marketing and solutions delivery, and experience best practices and solutions for Smart Cities.
This year, Huawei has realised US$4 billion from Smart City deployment, which represents a 50 percent growth from the previous year.
“Huawei will continue the Safe City and Smart City,” So said.
– CAJ News