Wi-Fi to play central role in Smart Cities, argues WBA whitepaper

Research by Wireless Broadband Alliance’s Connected City Advisory Board shows 75% of cities have plans in place to significantly increase investment in Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi to play central role in Smart Cities, argues WBA whitepaper

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has today (3 November 2015) published the first whitepaper prepared by its Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB) outlining the status of City Wi-Fi around the world.

The whitepaper reveals that activity in Wi-Fi is at an unprecedented level as cities seek expert assistance to deploy the technology; with over 75% of respondents saying they have plans in place to significantly increase investment in Wi-Fi.

The whitepaper included interviews with leading city representatives and an industry survey conducted throughout the Connected City ecosystem spanning 44 cities over 6 continents.

These findings underline the key role that wireless connectivity will play in underpinning the architecture of the Smart City. The WBA industry survey supports these findings; with the perception of Wi-Fi as being overwhelmingly reliable, cost-effective and easily deployable, cities are seeing it as a means to improve productivity.

The research also identifies key challenges for cities to address and reviews the different business models and monetisation strategies for City-wide Wi-Fi. Key challenges facing cities are the need to address the lack of expertise in developing and deploying City-wide Wi-Fi, how to manage public expectations and user experience, and the choice of technology to use.

The dominant business model is providing free access in combination with 3rd party sponsorships. However, cities are actively exploring new business and partnership models to deploy other city services using public Wi-Fi services.

The whitepaper also contains interviews with key executives from the cities of San Jose, Singapore, New York, Dublin and Barcelona, providing real-world examples of the importance of increasing urban connectivity.

“The Connected City Advisory Board pools the expertise of prominent individuals at the forefront of Smart City technology, creating an authority on the importance of wireless connectivity to the next generation of urban environment,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

“The board focuses on the development of Connected City plans and blueprints, the creation of public-private ecosystems and collaborative mechanisms for resource contributions.

“Combining input from the CCAB with the WBA’s expertise in bringing together ecosystem partners and creating best practices and de facto industry standards for diverse ecosystems, the WBA can develop key insights and solutions as to how the cities and industry can optimize technologies to deliver societal benefits while leveraging public/private partnerships.”

The Connected City Advisory Board was formed in July 2015 in recognition of the vital role Connected Cities and widespread wireless connectivity will play in realising the potential of Smart Cities.

The board is currently made up of CIOs from cities such as Barcelona, Calgary, Dublin, Liverpool, Mexico City, New York City, Singapore, San Francisco, San Jose and the governments of Delhi and the Philippines.

The WBA is the industry association focused on driving next generation Wi-Fi and its role in Public Wi-Fi services, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Converged Services, Smart Cities and 5G.

To download the whitepaper, please go to: http://www.wballiance.com/resource-center/wba-white-papers/

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