Enhancing mobility. All over the world, mobile apps are helping people plan their routes, make better use of mass transit, and otherwise travel with greater convenience and speed and less congestion and pollution.
Enabling telecommuting. Fast, reliable Internet access enables telecommuting, creating a more flexible and satisfying lifestyle while improving productivity.
Attracting business and investment. Broadband and high-speed Internet access are no longer a convenience, they are an economic and business requirement. Cities with superior telecommunications have an edge when courting business investment. This advantage was captured in a stunning 2011 study by the World Bank that found that GDP rises 1.3% for every 10% increase in broadband penetration. Similar effects have been found for mobile broadband.
Real estate developers and business owners consider a robust telecommunications infrastructure a requirement. A city’s attractiveness is directly related to its ability to offer the services that support growth and create competitive differentiation. What’s more, citywide telecommunications help attract investment to areas that would not otherwise see it, such as low-income inner-city neighborhoods.
Creating jobs. A 2010 Communications Workers of America study found that every $5 billion investment in broadband creates 100,000 direct jobs plus another 150,000 “spinoff” positions.
Helping people boost their professional skills. Expanded access to broadband gives people better access to online professional training programs, online tertiary education and city employment services.
Increasing business access to the global economy. A smart telecommunications network allows local businesses to gain access to national and international markets, and for rural areas to connect to the world economy.
Reducing the need for transportation. Advanced telecommunications enables videoconferencing, telecommuting, telemedicine and online education – all things that lessen the need for lengthy commutes that pollute the air and prolong our dependence on fossil fuels.
Getting more from existing assets. When expensive equipment – transformers, pumps, power plants, power lines – can be remotely monitored, it can be pushed to its maximum capacity without fear of overload. By the same token, its actual condition can be monitored so repairs can be made before the equipment fails, thereby extending its life.
Reducing energy and water use. Smart grids need to connect their embedded devices to technicians and control centers if they are to succeed and reduce resource waste – and they rely on telecommunications for this service. Likewise, telecommunications enables smart buildings to report their conditions and optimize their systems to use as little water and power as possible.