The ongoing wave of innovative technology is continuing to generate some stunning improvements across communities, businesses and municipalities. From public safety initiatives to greener operations and increased revenue opportunities, quality of life is on the rise for locations that can keep pace with digital transformation. This is why worldwide spending on smart city initiatives is projected to increase from $81 billion in 2018 to more than $189 billion in 2023. However, the ‘smart city’ that’s often mentioned in today’s tech conversations isn’t a smart city — and may never be one — if it doesn’t have a smart foundation.
It’s true that as IT develops, incorporating more digital capabilities opens up a host of new opportunities to help organizations and communities thrive. End-user experiences are improved with new applications and greater availability, which leads to business growth that can then be supported with scalable, secure IT infrastructure. But therein lies the challenge: Smart city-capable IT infrastructure must first be created in order to empower and future-proof tech initiatives.
What’s at the Heart of Smart City Enablement?
Like many digital transformations in our current day, the viability of a smart city plan comes down to the fiber network and connectivity that underpins it. Without a robust network that can support high-capacity, low-latency applications and shuttle data to and from key endpoints and end-users, any business use cases or community initiatives are rendered useless. Network planning and deployment is a major first step in any smart city initiative, and success means understanding all the facets of a great connectivity strategy.
Of course, high speeds across the network are vital for preserving the quality of the services laid over top. Many applications today are highly latency-sensitive (think driverless cars, IoT deployments, 5G applications, telehealth capabilities and more), and if the network’s speeds are lackluster, then jitter or lag can interrupt the user experience. Even in simpler use cases, waiting for files to send, downloads and uploads to finish, or for important messages to be received interrupts progress, so a fast network is key.
Security is another crucial element of a great network, especially in a smart city scenario. Communities want their data preserved — and as more threats emerge and concerns rise over information theft, protecting private data is only becoming more of an imperative. The ideal network will be able to send and receive data across the footprint seamlessly — even as that footprint scales and adds more points of accessibility and platforms — without compromising its security. Protection across the network often comes down to building in Dedicated Internet Access (connections that are not shared with other network customers) or even utilizing dark fiber.
Still, there may be one necessity that rises above the rest when it comes to keeping smart city plans right on track: resilience.
Building Resilience, Protecting the Future
A redundant network that allows for multiple connectivity options is of the utmost importance for smart cities because it protects against dreaded downtime. Without a redundant network that features diverse paths for data, if one service provider goes down in a natural disaster or a man-made outage, everything is stuck in the dark. Important community capabilities cease to function, and the whole interdependent fabric of the smart city applications and infrastructure is compromised.
Building for the future means thinking of all the possible outcomes — especially the challenging ones. In an age when even a robust system can become subject to downtime, planning for strong disaster recovery from the get-go is the best way to ensure smart cities can grow and thrive unimpeded.
When redundancy comes together with security, scalability, speed, and more, that’s when the true potential is unlocked. To get there, communities need an experienced network partner that already knows the right solutions to get great results — and has a demonstrated record of success to boot.
To learn more about how Horizon can support smart digital transformations for businesses and communities alike, click here.