Smart City: Proven Service Provider Opportunities with Cisco IoT Platforms
Contributors: Brian Walsh
The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a big impact – and it’s about to get much bigger. IoT is evolving on a massive scale, thanks to the rise of low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies like NB-IoT and LoRa™, and innovative IoT platforms to cost-efficiently control thousands or millions of simple, low usage connected devices.
The Smart City is a key example. As cities around the world face challenges of economic, social and environmental sustainability, they’re turning to IoT. Connectivity can transform the infrastructure of lighting, traffic, parking, waste management, water and more into an IoT ecosystem enabling cities to reduce costs, improve productivity and increase public safety.
Optimizing Smart City application management
At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018, we showcased how Service Providers can leverage an integrated IoT solution to manage connectivity, device behavior, data flow and diagnostics, while securely integrating device data with other domain-specific applications, such as intelligent street lighting from Cisco’s partner Flashnet. This integrated, foundational Cisco IoT solution is enabled by the power of three Cisco IoT platforms:
- Cisco Jasper Control Center for NB-IoT – automated connectivity management
- Cisco Kinetic for Cities – application control and automated data management
- Cisco Ultra Services Platform – 5G-ready mobile core solution
Smart lighting is a pivotal example and it’s already proving value. When streetlights typically consume over 30% of overall municipal utilities, cities are seeing up to a 50% energy savings from smart lighting deployments. Using LPWAN connectivity, cities can cost-effectively power IoT street lights from a number of third-party solution providers who have directly integrated their systems with Cisco IoT platforms and APIs to give cities accurate, real-time insights and control to optimize smart grid management.
Increasing efficiency and lowering costs
Smart city devices, like street lights and water meters, use sensors powered through SIMs to run applications such as detecting when and where light and water are needed. To easily manage a massive number of these devices connected with NB-IoT, cities can rely on the three platforms in Cisco’s IoT solution.
NB-IoT dramatically reduces the power and cost of connectivity, so now even the simplest “things” will be capable of delivering valuable IoT services. While it’s going to fuel exponential growth in the IoT industry, one size will not fit all.
Cisco Jasper Control Center for NB-IoT
Control Center for NB-IoT helps drive the business case for IoT, with LPWAN connectivity billing based on transactions, not data usage. That means smart cities get cost-efficient power aligned with the business value and use case of a specific IoT device. This automated connectivity management platform gives customers 24/7 visibility and control to increase efficiency, ensure reliability and lower costs.
- Providing value-based business models for NB-IoT – Control Center for NB-IoT addresses a broad range of low power use cases – from a water meter that sends a burst of data once a week, to a parking meter that handles frequent transactions. Customers need the flexibility to get and pay for connectivity based on the business value of each of those transactions. Control Center for NB-IoT is the only platform that enables this value-based approach to LPWAN connectivity;
- An integrated solution – The platform enables companies to unify the connectivity management of multiple types of IoT devices, including both cellular and NB-IoT;
- Customizable service packages – Customers can choose the level of features they need for their IoT applications, with the convenience of a self-serve online catalogue to order and utilize platform features as needed;
- Automation for managing scale – Control Center for NB-IoT combines automation capabilities with real-time visibility and insights across massive numbers of connected devices. Customers can accelerate onboarding and scaling, and streamline connectivity management for large-scale deployments while minimizing operational costs;
Control Center for NB-IoT also provides remote diagnostics to quickly find and fix connectivity issues, and advanced analytics to help smart cities understand usage trends, and optimize utilization and policies to reduce energy loss.
Cisco Kinetic for Cities
Cisco Kinetic for Cities acts as a data aggregation platform, with a single visual dashboard for managing all smart city applications across a wide range of domains including lighting, parking, waste management, environment, public safety, and more. For example, using APIs that connect a third-party smart lighting application to Kinetic, cities can remotely control individual lights, such as turning them on and off, or adjusting brightness. They can do it manually, or define schedules to automate operations, as well as cross-domain policy rules (e.g., an alert on acoustic sensors can trigger an increase in brightness for street lights in that area).
Cisco Ultra Services Platform
To meet the scaling requirements of massive IoT, the Cisco Ultra Services platform provides a 5G- and LPWAN-ready mobile core solution. This fully virtualized platform simplifies and automates the provisioning of mobile core services, and helps improve performance, scalability and cost-efficiency. And Cisco Ultra Services platform has capabilities that offer Service Providers new ways to monetize IoT data (e.g., deliver data across apps, expose network events/resources to apps) while helping their customers transform their businesses.
Amplifying competitive value for service providers
Smart lighting powered with Cisco IoT platforms is just one example of the enormous opportunity for mobile service providers to increase competitive advantage in the smart city market. Transforming their offerings with Cisco’s IoT solution helps service providers “move up the value stack” to grow revenue and increase profitability:
- Target new market opportunities – Integrated, standards-based IoT platforms support a broad range of verticals including smart cities, smart buildings, asset management, transportation and more.
- Increase monetization with new business models – Monetize by exposing network resources to applications, and innovate customer pricing beyond usage, such as based on transactions or outcomes. For example, Deutsche Telekom offers cities free connectivity for smart parking meters in exchange for a percentage of the parking fees.
- Accelerate time to revenue – Tap into an IoT ecosystem that helps your customers speed development, deployment, management and scaling of smart city solutions.
Expanding the smart city
Think of smart lighting like a beachhead. With proven cost savings, cities should look to expand smart city solutions – parking, video surveillance, Wi-Fi hotspots, digital signage, waste management and more – all of which help build a more economically sustainable infrastructure. The growing smart city also benefits service providers, opening up compelling new ways to win business and grow revenue.
In the age of IoT, the partnership between cities and their mobile service providers can take on new dimensions for monetization. Together, they can provide access to smart city device data and events to third parties for commercial applications, and both the city and service provider can share in the data revenue.