In a blog post published in Network World, Ciena’s advisor for state/local government, education, and healthcare Daniele Loffreda, argues that the most immediate need for smart cities is a converged communications infrastructure that can support all the needs of different applications and users.
From Ciena’s view, that means a robust fibre network with SDN and NFV capabilities.
” To achieve this, packet optical based connectivity is proving critical, thanks largely to the flexibility and cost advantages it provides. Then atop the packet optical foundation sits technology that enables NFV and the applications running on COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) equipment in some form of virtualised environment,” Loffreda wrote. “SDN and NFV allow for the quick and virtual deployment of services to support multiple data traffic and priority types, as well as increasingly unpredictable data flows of IoT.”
SDN and NFV are not only critical in enabling flexible and extensible infrastructure, but also for reducing the hardware, power, and space requirements.
“It makes the network applications portable and upgradeable with software; and it allows cities of all sizes the agility and scalability to tackle the needs and trends of the future as they arise,” Loffreda said. “Like the brain’s neural pathways throughout a body, SDN and NFV are essential in making the smart city and its networks connect and talk to each other in a meaningful way.”
As part of the blog, Loffreda also highlighted several smart city projects around the world.
“Barcelona is recognised for environmental initiatives (such as electric vehicles and bus networks), city-wide free Wi-Fi, smart parking, and many more programs, all of which benefit from smart city initiatives. With a population of 1.6 million citizens, Barcelona shows that smart city technologies can be implemented regardless of city size,” she wrote.
“But even smaller cities are benefitting from going “smart.” In 2013 Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with a population of only 71,000, began using a web-based data management tool along with smart sensors to track the way electricity, water, fuel and consumables are being utilized, then compared usage between municipal facilities to identify ways to be more efficient. Chattanooga, Tennessee, population 170,000, along with its investment to provide the fastest Internet service in the U.S., has recently begun developing smart city solutions for education, healthcare and public safety.”