New research provides roadmap for developing smart city services in the Middle East

New report from Analysys Mason, commissioned by Huawei, investigates operating models that cities in the region should consider in developing more connected city services & systems

"New Research Provides Roadmap for Developing Smart City Services in the Middle East"As the Middle East heads into a better connected future, a new report from Analysys Mason and commissioned by Huawei investigates the unique operating models and technologies that will power the Middle East’s next generation of smart city services. The report has been officially released at this week’s Arab Future Cities Summit being attended by over 350 senior executives, city and government officials.

"New Research Provides Roadmap for Developing Smart City Services in the Middle East" The independent white paper—titled “Approaches to deploying IoT and smart cities in the Middle East”—notes that cities across the region are increasingly using data collected from many different public services to improve sustainability, quality of life as well as the performance and efficiency of these services. The report outlines the operating models adopted by smart cities in the Middle East, identifies the key services that are being deployed in the region today, the benefits they hope to deliver, and the technologies& standards needed to support those services.

Looking to real-life applications, the paper also delves into services such as street lighting, city parking, smart metering, and waste management, recommending fresh operating models and technologies that smart cities in the Middle East may consider in advancing such infrastructure. The authors further make the case for stakeholders in the Middle East to deploy an “anchor” smart city service and develop a set of key learnings before moving onto other projects.

"New Research Provides Roadmap for Developing Smart City Services in the Middle East"

Safder Nazir

“Cities in the Middle East need to start planning to support a huge number of connections across a wide range of smart city services,” says Safder Nazir, Vice President of Smart Cities &IoT at Huawei Middle East. “The deployment of the smart city projects will be driven by cities’ needs to reduce CO2 emissions, use fewer resources, increase productivity and improve well-being. As such, this research can help organizations in the Middle East to carefully plan their projects, maximize return on investment as well as to deliver further benefits to citizens.”

“Cities in the Middle East should consider adopting the centralized or hybrid operating model approach to deploy a smart city project, as opposed to a fragmented approach, to minimize CAPEX and OPEX costs,” adds Erik Almqvist, Head of Analysys Mason Middle East and Global Head of Performance Improvement. “They should also consider how to maximize the value of data that smart city services create.”

The latest research comes as Huawei’s own Middle East Smart Cities Center of Excellence is bringing together expertise on the Internet of Things, big data and mobile connectivity platforms focused on smart city development. In particular, the company has pioneered many of the technologies needed to support smart city initiatives in the region. These includetrialing4.5G and 5G mobile broadband networks, setting standards for Narrow Bank IoT infrastructure, and plan plans for low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity in urban centers.

Key Considerations in Smart City Planning

 Amongst the white paper’s recommendations are four considerations that cities in the Middle East should review when developing smart city projects and deploying associated services. These include:

The operating model selected depends on a city’s circumstance

Cities in the Middle East could consider adopting acentralized or hybrid model as opposed to a fragmented approach. Both the centralized and the hybrid models use a common, select number of technology networks and a limited number of platforms to support smart city services. These models help to minimize capital and operating costs.

A limited number of networks that address the needs of multiple services

Many smart city services have similar requirements, such as an ICT network that provides wide-area coverage, delivers high propagation, and only needs to connect to low-cost devices powered by batteries. Cities that are planning their smart city strategy may consider how low-powered, wide-area (LPWA) networks will address their service needs.

Cities should consider how best to support future smart city services

Cities will have to support an increasing range of smart city services, many of which are not yet being commonly deployed as part of smart city projects. The characteristics of future services may differ from services deployed early on in a city’s smart city roadmap. For example, they may require additional privacy and security protection or have higher quality-of-service (QoS) requirements.

 To maximize return on investment, harmonize data

Cities in the Middle East may need to consider how to maximize the value of data that smart city services create. Harmonizing data across the value chain is an important step to making data accessible to all market participants—whether that is a government entity, a service developer, or a local business. It is important to use standard formats to support data harmonization, and to allow that information to flow freely across networks, platforms, services and projects.