Smart Cities are an urban development vision to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) identifies Smart Cities as a plan for supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, encourage innovation and create jobs and growth (1).
Creating this smart cities vision will involve multiple technologies undoubtedly, however one clear product or service available is public WiFi.
So what role can public WiFi play in the Smart Cities initiative?
Well a huge one, if we focus on the notions of creating productive, accessible and liveable cities as outlined by the DPMC.
Productivity is easily understood, what better way is there to support the globalised workforce, than allowing them to be constantly connected, turning every section of a city into a WiFi connected business space.
Accessible, can be thought of in the context of tourism and the woes of travelling whilst trying to remain connected. Offering a centralised WiFi service city wide can be a tool to attract tourists, offering an ability to access all a city has to offer, with the knowledge you’re safe in relying on the devices wireless access for directions, suggestions and queries.
Liveable, well connectivity has become the most recent necessity, the backbone of an entire social culture whose foundation relies on virtual interaction. For good reason to, these platforms are acting as community hubs for shared thoughts and experiences, allowing residents to connect with cities to advocate their happiness or disapprovals.
What are the added advantages of WiFi to Smart Cities initiatives?
Data is one of the core components of Smart Cities. Focused on creating collaborative outcomes for the greater good of communities and tourists. With WiFi the value isn’t limited to the end user, it’s a tool to support government with clear understandings and outcomes, leveraging the data available.
As a standalone data source, WiFi can provide incredible insights into the utilisation of public facilities and the behaviour of tourists, workers and residents. Creating a depth of knowledge and understanding into how people interact with cities, allowing councils to create reflective development plans, and provide resources and facilities to areas as result of direct feedback.
However, with only the raw data this ambition can be quickly lost, as organisations struggle to make sense of what is available to them. For this reason, the IO platform acts as a unification tool for the data sources available, helping provide actionable insights that support smart cities.
How Skyfii supports Smart Cities.
Skyfii has been active in supporting Smart Cities initiatives, working with a popular Sydney local government area to leverage wireless networks for data analytics.
For this local government body, WiFi data has been used as a critical reporting tool in understanding the high volume traffic flow and behaviour of visitors along their coastal areas, in order to better manage path maintenance and crews. In addition, the data collected has allowed the council to analyse the utilisation of public precincts, with an ability to understand where visitors spend most their time, and the congestion in those areas. Furthermore, WiFi data is helping the council to understand how efficiently the public transport networks in the area are working, and the demand on the service during busy summer seasons.
As more councils move towards executing their Smart Cities initiatives, Skyfii foresees a rise in the deployment of guest WiFi networks. These public utilities are a hub that provides exponential return, in addition to creating productive, accessible and liveable cities supported by data.