Smart cities play essential roles in moving Malaysia’s sustainability agenda. The advent of 5G connectivity will help stakeholders develop and optimise smart cities’ potential to better people’s lives. However, some challenges need to be addressed for smart cities to be implemented successfully.
On Dec 1, 5G Tech 2021 held a discussion titled “Working towards a shared vision of smart cities” to discuss the roles of 5G and other related technologies in driving the smart city agenda.
The session, moderated by Dr Gopinath Rao Sinnia, CTO and Co-Founder of Favoriot Sdn Bhd, featured Mohamad Rejab Sulaiman, Maimunah Jaffar, Darryll Sinnappa and Srinivas Chitiveli.
Optimising the use of drones
Srinivas, Product Executive of Mavenir, said with the advent of 5G, many evolutions were happening beyond traffic management, which was the first thing associated with the smart city.
“Now, with 5G, we can integrate drones and help law enforcement officers. If there is an event or incident, the drones would be the first responders. They would fly around and reach the incident before the patrol goes in and provide situational awareness for the police to react to the situation,” said Srinivas.
“Drones are also being engaged to help forest officials to detect fires before they can happen. Drones could fly around; they would have different sensors for humidity, heat and an onboard camera that can detect fire and fumes and help a lot of devastation even before it can get started.
“Smart water management is something that is coming to almost every city. With 5G, the municipalities can identify leakages and ensure citizens get the water supply when they want it.”
Mohamad Rejab, Head of Product and Innovation at TM ONE, emphasised the importance of stakeholders working together and utilising the data for smart city development. At the same time, Darryll, Chief Executive Officer of Naza Communications, highlighted that the notion of smart cities and smart city applications and use cases could differ from one perspective or user to another.
Challenges in smart city development
Maimunah, Director-Lead Technology & Innovation, Iskandar Regional Development Authority, said Iskandar Malaysia already developed its smart city framework in 2012.
“To us, smart city is a tool to assimilate Iskandar Malaysia’s vision and outcome for our greenhouse gas reduction based on our low carbon cities agenda. Smart cities optimise digital, technology, data and insight to improve the quality of economy, social and environment,” she said, adding that Iskandar Malaysia had been involved in many private projects for smart cities, including Iskandar Rapid Transit Smart Integrated Transportation System.
She said some of the challenges in the development of smart cities were:
• Reliability of internet connectivity
• Finding the right solutions to resolve the city’s urban challenges
• Government’s readiness and understanding
• Limited funding
According to Darryll, the biggest challenge for smart cities development was the various approvals and permits that companies had to go through before implementing some systems.
How to sustain smart cities
As smart cities are meant to improve the overall experience of their residents, it is crucial to sustain these cities in the long run. However, sustaining and maintaining smart cities can be challenging.
To sustain smart cities, Maimunah said: “There will be two keywords for that. One is collaboration, and the other one is looking at how a sustainable business model can be derived between the partnership of cities and solution providers.”
As a technology player, Srinivas then shared that Mavenir had always ensured the flexibility of its solutions. By providing this flexibility, stakeholders would be better positioned to determine what works best for them.
“Then comes converged solutions. What that means is a smart city initiative, for example, needs connectivity, software for acceleration and AI analytics, etc. All these different applications should converge on the same hardware, same operating system and the same container management technology,” he stated.
“This is going to help our customers and MNOs (mobile network operators) to make sure that they can get started on very l
ow-cost hardware. The cost of ownership will be less. Fewer vendors to go to solve problems, fewer vendors to chase for support and enhancement. The converged solution is significant for sustainability.” — @Green