Public Wi-Fi: Now transform smart city hype into reality

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     The Smart City buzz word is reaching giddy heights. There is a palpable wish to embrace it the earliest. Government bodies across the globe are marching ahead to accomplish their vision of smart cities. Behind all this hype and buzzing, people are either getting fuzzy on the whole concept of ‘Smart City’ or they may soon develop a ‘deaf spot’. The risk is of over-selling the concept and under-delivering on its implementation. “According to Gartner, a smart city is an urbanized area where multiple public and private sectors cooperate to achieve sustainable outcomes through the analysis of contextual real-time information.”As we see all around us new lifestyles and livelihood is catalyzing urbanization and putting pressure on the existing city infrastructure and facilities, a crucial push to make the cities ‘Smart-er’, faster. “The estimate by Gartner is that 1.1 billion connected things will be in use by smart cities in 2015 which will allow citizens to gain more transparency and awareness about their cities.”2 They would also gain access to governance and administration and encourage them to participate, report and finally own the cities they live in. The use of new technologies, such as the M2M, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and artificial intelligence will help gain real time data, analysis and automation to help take action on set criteria. If and when required people will choose to react in real time. The vision is grand. The issue is on implementation. Where to start from before boredom creeps in. Can a public Wi-Fi project get Smart City development off the ground? The answer is tangible and all to see, feel and experience it. The one thing we know for a fact is that everyone wants public Wi-Fi. The way we see it, Wi-Fi has an integral role to play in the core foundation of a Smart City. Once stabilized it has the potential to recover the cost of infrastructure and in fact become a revenue model. Public Wi-Fi is provided and monetized in many ways – but common to them all is the inherent value that people see in Wi-Fi for seamless Internet access. This will pave the way to launch citizen services and an incentive to participate in the city administration and governance. It will give IoT-type use cases a platform to work off now. Public data thus available and collected from Wi-Fi network can be analyzed, which can help create infrastructure and operational benefits, such as energy or water network efficiency, relief of traffic congestion and improvements to city facilities. It can also identify how people move and live in the cities and suggest solutions accordingly. Wi-Fi use cases have already initiated citizen participation in many cities the world over, including the developing economies. The focus is to keep building upon every gain. And let more people experience the digital wave in community specific use cases, which will continue to define and redefine our lives increasingly and improving our quality of life. At the recently held Wi-Fi Global Congress Event – San Jose, many cities represented their model approach and planning of how to make cities smarter. CSPs like Du Telecom presented how they have built a Wi-Fi proposition in attaining their initiative of making UAE a smart city, how Public Wi-Fi becomes an integral  part of their vision and role of technology partner like Elitecore in helping them achieving their Smart City initiative by developing a value proposition built on a strong platform. Elitecore Wi-Fi SMP helps CSPs address the fundamental question of where does the profitability comes from a public Wi-Fi network, smart city approach and how they can monetize it? Elitecore offers pre-integrated and modular SMP enabling operators to roll out hassle free Public Wi-Fi and monetization services through a single converged SMP. The innovative platform 2 Gartner, Smarter with Gartner, The Future City in a Smart World, May 19, 2015,

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