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Better city, better life
November 2018, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure

Cities already account for approximately 70% to 80% of the world’s economic growth, and this will only increase as cities continue to grow. In the next 35 years, the population in cities is estimated to expand by an additional 2.5 billion people, almost double the population of China.

As a vital component for connectivity, public health, social welfare, and economic development, infrastructure in all its forms – basic, social, and economic – is critical for the anticipated urban growth. As a day to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation and contribute to sustainable development around the world, 31 October marks World Cities Day – where the spotlight on building sustainable cities comes to the fore.

Riaan Graham
Riaan Graham

“Globally, the annual investment required to cover the gap for resilient infrastructure is estimated at $4.5-$5.4 trillion,” says Riaan Graham, sales director for Ruckus Networks, sub-Saharan Africa. “And while no two cities are the same, more than 50% of the global population live in cities, and instrumental to achieving sustainable smart cities is harnessing a new world of digital technology and communication to first enable a connected city.”

Building on connectivity

Connectivity is a foundational layer to smart cities, both for Internet access and new digital services. A great starting point for cities is to deploy public Wi-Fi. Continues Graham; “Public Wi-Fi is a great way to create a more vibrant community and also connect citizens, businesses and visitors. But the benefits of Wi-Fi don’t stop there. Cities are leveraging smart Wi-Fi for many applications that go well beyond free public access to the Internet such as e-routing traffic, monitoring air pollution, conserving water, improving public safety and encouraging more direct participation, interaction and collaboration with local government offered services.”

In fact, according to an IDC InfoBrief Smart City aspects such as networked LED street lighting can provide a 25% to 50% reduction in operations and energy costs, connected trash bins can yield more than 50% reduction in garbage collection costs, 20% to 30% cost reduction can be obtained with smart parking and smart water systems can save 40% less clean water loss due to leaks and burst pipes. Such aspects are key to building sustainable cities and managing resources and services.

Sustainability lens

Alison Groves
Alison Groves

Alison Groves, regional director, WSP, Building Services, Africa, agrees, but cautions that when planning, designing and building infrastructure within the African context, we need to be conscious that we are operating in spaces that sit at two extreme ends of the development cycle. “On one end, we have cities and urban centres that are faced with challenges to maintaining the capacity of existing infrastructure networks. These nodes still boast long-term infrastructure planning, which includes introducing smart technologies into their cityscape that will make these cities more connected, innovative and nimble in the face of future disruption. At the other end of the cycle, however, we have vast areas that are underdeveloped, geographically dispersed, remote, and with limited accessibility to-and-from the nearest urban node.”

Groves believes that to be able to support continued and future growth – of populations, industries and economies – long-term planning must be approached with a vision to compensate for both ends of the development cycle and everything in between. “As we look to build cities and spaces for rural communities that are liveable, resilient to disruptions, and futureproofed, sustainability is the way to get there.

“Sustainability is a lens through which the planning, project delivery, and development processes focus to achieve the needs of the communities today without sacrificing capacity for future generations. A sustainability lens always includes balancing priorities across several areas, including the economy, community needs, and environmental quality, but also equity, health and well-being, energy, water and materials resources, and transportation and mobility needs,” adds Groves.

Resilience and liveability

Urbanisation, demographic shift, environmental changes and new technologies are reshaping the way city leaders are looking at sustainability as well as creating and delivering on public services to address these new dynamics, and the rise of smart cities is the response to these challenges. Smart cities will help address the economic and social inequality that this divide creates, by providing Internet access to all citizens.

“With robust networks in place, bridging this divide will help bring communities closer together and encourage citizens to play a more active role to local councils. Flawless connectivity will improve city infrastructure and make it possible for citizens to engage with their community, such as removing the roadblocks that complicate access to local services. We are already seeing significant foreign direct investment into such key ICT initiatives across the continent, but sustainability has to be at the heart of this if Africa is to create a resilient framework for better cities,” adds Graham.

“In Africa, resilience and liveability must be the desired outcomes sought through planning and design processes. Achieving these outcomes will require respecting and balancing local environmental, social, economic, and climate risk priorities through a robust planning and data-driven design process. And, ultimately the goal should be that we are building liveable spaces that are people-centric, integrated, connected, smart, nimble and resilient – where societies can thrive, well into the future,” concludes Groves.


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Further reading:

  • NEC XON talks Industry 4.0 and disruption
    November 2018, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, Cyber Security, Integrated Solutions, Conferences & Events, Training & Education
    NEC XON held its seventh annual summit at Sun City in October this year in which it focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4) and how it would disrupt the status quo.
  • The building blocks of safe and smart cities
    November 2018, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure, Government and Parastatal (Industry)
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asks NEC XON and Vox for insights into what some of the foundations of a safe and smart city are.
  • How close has video analytics grown to AI?
    November 2018, Technews Publishing, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Cyber Security, Integrated Solutions
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asks how far artificial intelligence has changed the video analytics market and how it will make an impact in future.
  • Managing business continuity and disaster recovery
    November 2018, Technews Publishing, IT infrastructure, Security Services & Risk Management
    Organisations are increasingly reliant on their IT systems and data, but they are faced with risks in the form of anything from accidental data loss, to deliberate acts of sabotage.
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure survey
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    Pinnacle has revealed the results of research conducted on behalf of Huawei Technologies into the global Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) market.
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  • Disaster Recovery 2.0
    November 2018, This Week's Editor's Pick, IT infrastructure
    Protecting your business from the unexpected can mitigate the financial and reputational risks of uncontrolled downtime.
  • Smart city spending to soar
    November 2018, Integrated Solutions, Security Services & Risk Management
    IDC forecasts annual technology spending by Middle East and Africa smart cities to total $2.7 billion by 2022, with Dubai and Riyadh leading the way.
  • Powering the Internet of Everything
    November 2018, Pinnacle Instruments SA, Integrated Solutions, Security Services & Risk Management
    Cities around the world have set their digital transformation sights on uplifting healthcare, education and delivering quality utility and transport services while also prioritising public safety.
  • Making cities smart-city-ready
    November 2018, Axis Communications SA, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
    The future of cities is smart interconnected systems that drive sustainability and efficiencies, and that make the lives of the people who live in them easier.
  • Smart security hub
    November 2018, Sentian, Products, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure
    With Sentian, commercial users can upgrade their installed security assets, and installers can upsell smart security to their existing clients, at a significant cost advantage because it builds off existing, installed security solutions.
  • Edge computing security platform
    November 2018, Sentian, Integrated Solutions
    Each Sentian 3i is a flexible, remotely upgradeable, multilingual ‘brain’ for your property that connects existing or off-the-shelf security, CCTV, access and automation systems.

 
 
         
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