Challenges Faced By Smart Cities
Digital Solutions For Smart Cities Challenges
You might call Smart Cities urban cities, but they are one leg up above the average city when it comes to tackling the everyday challenges of managing a city using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. From traffic, waste, energy, and water management to smart lighting, smart parking, 24/7 public security, and much more.
Services that used to be complex to execute or manage as a city becomes bigger and busier, smart cities are using networks of smart devices to automate the tasks involved.
However, one challenge faced by smart cities is the difficulty of deploying an ecosystem of IoT-enabled devices that can seamlessly communicate with each other – and in a scalable way.
So in the post, we are going to be revealing some digital solutions that smart cities can use to solve their IoT connectivity issues and ensure a resilient, scalable, and secure ecosystem of smart devices.
“Smart cities through the Internet of Things (IoT) can tackle significant challenges that residents face…”
Understanding The Challenges Faced By Smart Cities
Asides from the social challenges that smart cities face such as;
- creating awareness for residential adoption,
- ensuring transparent and ethical regulations,
- securing the needed funding,
- and reducing the digital divide
There are technical hurdles that can hamper the successful Implementation of an IoT ecosystem.
These technical challenges can be grouped into three major categories;
- Poor Unified Connectivity
- Limited Bandwidth
- Privacy and Security
Poor Unified Connectivity
Deploying IoT devices that can seamlessly communicate with each other irrespective of the region or network carrier is one of the biggest challenges faced by smart cities. And it’s even worse for companies selling IoT solutions.
For instance, a company that sells smart cameras designed for capturing the real-time event or recognizing license plates – and sends the data to a centralized platform – may decide to sell their camera across North America and Europe.
But if the device is not compatible with the network carrier used in these regions, there will be a poor unified connection among these devices, which will lead to limited functionality and data loss.
Manufacturers may decide to build different versions to comply with the different network carriers, but this solution is not scalable; it’s complex, expensive, and time-consuming to manage.
Another challenge that plagues smart cities is the limited bandwidth of the networks among IoT applications. In a smart city, different smart devices with different sensors collect data from their environment, analyze it, and either store it in the cloud or send it to their smart devices that act on the data as well. And all of these are done in real-time.
When a smart city doesn’t have the required bandwidth capacity to handle the large sending and receiving of data, this would lead to response delays, inaccurate data transmission, and data loss.
Privacy and Security
Since smart devices communicate over the internet, the IoT ecosystem is exposed to various security risks. From devices corrupted with malware or systems hacked to interception of data or – the most common – DDoS attacks.
There are many security loopholes that these cyber criminals exploit, which include outdated IoT applications, inadequate authentication, insecure communication protocols, or lack of update mechanisms. And since there are tons of confidential data transmitted and stored in an IoT ecosystem, there is a need for a reliably secure cellular network.
Digital Solutions For Challenges Faced By Smart Cities
eSIMs Solutions For Poor Unified Connectivity
Using an eSIM for your IoT ecosystem is the best digital solution for tackling poor unified connectivity. An eSIM is a digital SIM that can store multiple network carriers and activate a cellular plan with any of the carriers without the need for a physical SIM.
Smart devices, just like our smartphones, need SIM cards to connect to the internet and do their job. But with a carrier-agnostic SIM card, such as eSIMs, smart cities can successfully deploy unified connectivity among their smart devices without depending on any single local network carrier.
By ensuring a single network across the smart cities’ smart devices, eSIMs open the door to further benefits such as;
Reducing The Number of SKUs
For organizations manufacturing and selling smart devices worldwide, eSIMs will enable them to build devices that do not depend on the local network carrier of the region.
This would reduce the number of SKUs needed for different product versions, to just a single SKU. Thereby, saving them more time, and money, and making it easier to manage their inventory.
Ensure A Resilient Network System
eSIMs are resilient; unlike physical SIM cards, eSIMs are compatible with all generations of networks, both legacy and future networks. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1G or 5G.
There is no need for swapping the SIMs in the thousands of smart devices scattered around the smart city when a new generation of networks is released. To integrate eSIMs into a smart city IoT ecosystem, there is a need for an Internet of the Things development company.
An IoT company will be responsible for setting up and testing the eSIMs across the IoT network of smart devices. Plus, they also ensure the comparability of the existing IoT infrastructure with newly installed smart devices across IoT networks.
Private Network Solution For Limited Bandwidth
It’s not uncommon to see IoT ecosystems using traditional IoT gateways such as Narrowband IoT, Zigbee, Bluetooth, or RFID. While these networks can support many smart city IoT applications, they have limited bandwidth and may fail to handle the activities of a busy smart city IoT ecosystem.
The best solution to limited bandwidth in a smart city is deploying a private 5G or 4GLTE network. Although 5G and 4GLTE are primarily public networks, they are best deployed as private networks in smart city IoT systems to ensure a dedicated bandwidth with low latency, and high reliability to transmit data to and fro.
An IoT development company can help with the planning, integration, and optimization of 5G private networks into a smart city network.
- Surveying various sites to identify the best location for installing 5G networks
- Installing the network equipment and optimizing their coverage and performance
- And implementing the appropriate security protocols, data encryption, and access control measures
Once set up, every smart device in the private network will be tested for speedy communication and consistent execution of the IoT application.
Private Network Solution For Privacy Security
Securing the IoT system from cyber attacks is a key step in achieving smart city goals.
Many sensitive data are processed daily in an IoT ecosystem; from personal information, financial information, and health information to location data, biometric data, and criminal records. These data must be kept safe using a strong encryption and authentication system.
And like limited bandwidth, private networks can provide the security needed for a safe IoT ecosystem. This is done by providing strong encryption between the smart devices and the cloud as data is transmitted on the network.
Also, private networks ensure there’s more transparent and ethical compliance with data regulation in an IoT ecosystem.
Smart cities are the future of urban life and the adoption of this technology is rapidly rising. However, some challenges would hamper the successful implementation of an IoT ecosystem if left unattended. Although these challenges can be tackled effectively using various digital solutions.
We’ve revealed the major technical challenges that smart cities face, the digital solutions available to solve them, and how IoT development companies can help in the implementation of these solutions.
It has been a long time since I joined Research Snipers. Though I have been working as a part-time tech-news writer, it feels good to be part of the team. Besides that, I am building a finance-based blog, working as a freelance content writer/blogger, and a video editor.