Barcelona and Bristol selected as Europe’s first 5G smart cities
The European Commission (EC) has established 5G test-beds in Barcelona in Spain and Bristol in the UK to trial of consumer oriented 5G applications. A further €2.2 million has been readies to fund new 5G test-beds in further European ‘smart cities’ over the next three years.
The EC’s facility for large-scale adaptive media experimentation (FLAME), part of its Horizon 2020 innovation scheme, has selected Barcelona in Spain and Bristol, in the UK, to run its first smart-city trials of 5G technologies and applications. Trials will focus on 5G-enabled “media services”.
Michael Boniface, project manager at FLAME, and technical director of the IT Innovation Centre at the University of Southampton, said: “By focusing on media services, the benefits of 5G can be experienced by consumers whether they are having fun, learning or just exploring the world.”
Dirk Trossen, technical manager at FLAME and senior engineer at InterDigital Europe, said the experiments in Barcelona and Bristol will provide “first insights into the possible transformation of media services through deep integration with the programmable compute and networking infrastructure at city scale.”
He commented: “The strong combination of development, deployment and exploitation through standards as well as consumer-facing trials allows for building a strong European competence in main 5G technology areas from software-defined networking over network function virtualization to flexible service routing over such programmable Layer 2 transport networks.”
Two subsequent rounds of funding will afford third parties an opportunity to pursue experiments on the FLAME service delivery platform on broad open smart-city infrastructure. “Media services can now be dynamically placed and connected in locations where consumers’ need them,” the group said in a statement. Hundreds of citizens will take part in trials throughout 2018, it said.
The FLAME consortium comprises 12 partners, including platform providers, content providers, SMEs, municipalities, and academic and research institutes from five European countries.
Barcelona and Bristol are repeatedly named among the leading smart cities in Europe. Both have substantial city-owned fibre networks, and have been distinguished for many years by their strong civic focus on technology. Barcelona is traditionally cited as the leading smart city in the region, but Bristol was selected as the smartest of them all at MWC in Barcelona in February.
There are 355 smart city projects in 221 cities, according to a latest latest figures; almost one in five now cut across multiple industry sectors, as smart city integration gathers pace. The total value of the smart cities market will more than double in the next decade, from $40.1 billion in 2017 to 94.2 billion by the end of 2026.
For a full review of smart city strategies, including an in-depth look at Barcelona’s revised smart city strategy, check out Enterprise IoT Insights’ report from late last year.