An advanced telecommunications system that includes high-speed broadband and citywide wireless not only makes it easier for city residents and businesses to access the Internet anytime from anywhere. It also enables these important targets.
Have access to a central GIS. The point of citywide wireless is to empower residents as they move about the city. Once they are mobile, they will of course want access to global positioning and geographic information. For instance, city employees will want the ability to see field assets on a map with descriptions – traffic signals, street lights, water mains, park facilities, etc.
Have access to comprehensive network and device management. Once a city has high-speed access and citywide wireless, the number of connected devices will skyrocket. You will need device management software to provision and manage those devices. Departments with maintenance operations will need to manage mobile phones, tablets and laptops connected to the network. Municipal power and water utilities may need to monitor and manage thousands or even millions of smart meters and sensors. Likewise, if the city operates any telecommunications networks of its own, it will need network management software. For instance, some municipal electric power utilities seek “hybrid” management software that can oversee multiple networks from a single console. (Many utilities have multiple networks in place side-by-side.) And don’t forget the importance of a comprehensive device management program to enforce compliance with city data management, security and privacy policies. Partnering with suppliers, operators and service providers is the typical path to get access to network and device management.
We mentioned in an earlier chapter how smartphones create the equivalent of sensors that collect and broadcast data over telecom- munications networks. These add to the data
stream that cities can use to analyze patterns and trends and improve city services.
One of the universal targets for analytics deserves additional discussion in the context of telecommunications.
Achieve asset optimization. This universal target refers primarily to the use of sophisticated software to a) run equipment to capacity while still staying safe and b) predicting when expensive equipment will need repair and c) calculating which equipment is most critical to prioritize replacements and upgrades. When it comes to telecommunications, it can also refer to a “manual” process – namely, the idea of multi-service networks – using a single telecommunications network for multiple purposes to extract maximum value from your investment.