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Smart cities key to reaching sustainable development goals

By signing the “Montevideo Declaration”, policy makers from around the world made smart cities a core element in reaching the U.N.’s sustainable development goals.

With 70 percent of the world population expected to be living in cities by 2050, smart cities are increasingly seen as playing a central role in addressing challenges presented by rapid urbanization. Ministers, city mayors, businesses and academics gathered at the sixth annual International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Green Standards Week in Uruguay’s capital on 5-9 September adopted the “Montevideo Declaration”, which promotes smart cities and information and communication technologies (ICTs) as key elements of the “New Urban Agenda” drafted by the United Nations.

The New Urban Agenda will be adopted at Habitat III, the conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development that will take place in Ecuador’s capital Quito in October. The “Montevideo Declaration” promotes the use of the internationally agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and international technical standards to enable sustainable development in urban areas. “ICTs, smart cities and collaboration with all key stakeholders including citizens will be key to the achievement of all the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, but especially SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “A crucial issue in the development of smart sustainable cities will be international standards: to ensure interoperability – so that equipment and systems produced by different vendors work together seamlessly – and to reduce costs through economies of scale,” said ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson.

U.S. government officials positive about the benefits of smart cities

Research conducted by CompTIA, a U.S.-based association for the technology industry, shows that U.S. government officials are optimistic about the benefits and value of smart cities solutions. Half of local, state and federal government personnel believe the Internet of Things (IoT), and by extension, smart cities, will definitely provide value, while another 39 percent believe it will probably provide value. “Improved decision-making made possible through new or better streams of data ranks as the highest perceived benefit,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, at CompTIA. “Given the many layers of agencies, jurisdictions and constituencies, interest in data-driven decision-making is not surprising,” he added. “Even small improvements in empowering government workers with the right data at the right time can pay dividends.” Staff productivity and cost savings from operational efficiencies were ranked second and third as smart city value proposition factors.

While government official say they perceive benefits and value in smart cities, they are also aware of the challenges and obstacles to adopting smart city solutions. These include costs, security, complexity and, yet again, interoperability. “Even the tech-savviest government staff may quickly find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to systems integration,” said Herbert. “A smart cities pilot project managed by internal staff may become unmanageable when it expands beyond the pilot phase.” Herbert expects the emergence of “smart cities-as-a-service providers that will manage these complex projects.

IIoT News Recap: Bosch-led project to transform electric vehicles in external battery packs for the smart grid; Orange connects Splitsecnd’s car emergency response device globally; ZigBee Alliance adds UL as fifth authorized test lab; Today’s forecast: The global fog computing market

smart cities

Smart grid: Bosch-led project to transform electric vehicles in external battery packs for the smart grid

BiLawE is the name of a new publicly-funded project led by Bosch, which aims to develop a wireless charging system to create an innovative infrastructure for renewable power grids. The new system would integrate electric vehicles into the power grid, transforming them into intelligent power units. Project partners include the Fraunhofer Society and GreenIng GmbH & Co. KG. “To make this system work, electric vehicles must be connected to the grid as often as possible and for as long as possible. This, in turn, necessitates a stationary infrastructure – that is, special inductive charging stations that we want to connect to public and local grids, or even isolated grids that supply only a limited area,” said Philipp Schumann, a physicist who heads up the project at the Bosch research campus in Renningen.

Connected car: Orange connects Splitsecnd’s car emergency response device globally

France-based operator Orange is to provide global IoT connectivity to Splitsecnd’s portable car emergency response device via embedded SIM cards, the operator announced. Spltsecnd’s device can be plugged into the 12V outlet of any vehicle, giving drivers instant access to automatic crash detection, 24/7 emergency assistance, pinpoint roadside assistance and real-time GPS vehicle monitoring. “Orange Business Services’ expertise in the Internet of Things, along with our global reach, will help splitsecnd realize safety innovations for all drivers,” said Mark Kenealy, senior vice president, Americas, at Orange Business Services. Splitsecnd will be available for purchase through a monthly subscription in North America, Europe and South Africa in the fourth quarter of this year.

Standards: ZigBee Alliance adds UL as fifth authorized test lab

The ZigBee Alliance, the low-power wireless Internet of Things (IoT) standards organization, added global safety science organization UL as the fifth independent test service provider accredited to support ZigBee Alliance certification programs. UL will offer ZigBee testing at its labs in Fremont, California, in the U.S. and Basingstoke in the U.K. “We are at a tipping point in the industry where the Internet of Things moves from an idea to real world application for consumers,” said Ghislain Devouge, vice president, UL Consumer Technology Division. “Our experts already have been validating numerous technologies in support of the IoT, and we’re excited to bring the ZigBee Alliance programs into our testing and certification process as its members innovate to connect us all in new and better ways.” The other accredited test service providers are the Chinese Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI), Element Materials Technology, National Technical Systems, Inc. (NTS) and TÜV Rheinland Group. To date, 1,600 products have been certified by authorized test service providers for the ZigBee Alliance. In 2016, 200 products have received certification so far.

Today’s forecast: Fog computing market to reach $203.48 million by 2022

The fog computing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 55.6 percent between 2017 and 2022. The market will be worth $203.48 million by 2022, growing from $22.28 million in 2017, according to new research published by Markets and Markets. During the forecast period, the market for fog computing software is expected to grow at the highest rate. Looking at applications, the fog computing market for the smart manufacturing application is set to grow at the highest rate.

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