The evolution of Accenture Smart City

For decades, the evolution of communications technology has laid the foundation for broad economic growth across the United States benefitting towns and cities large and small. The next generation of wireless network infrastructure will be built using small-cell networks employing 5G wireless technology. The connectivity and computing capacity unleashed by these high-speed wireless networks will bring the power of Smart City solutions to municipalities across the country.

Beyond the benefits of pervasive Smart City technology, the potential gains from the deployment process for such technology are also significant since telecom operators are expected to invest approximately $275 billion in infrastructure, which could create up to 3 million jobs and boost GDP by $500 billion.

This can transform local economies. Research has suggested that Smart City solutions applied to the management of vehicle traffic and electrical grids could produce $160 billion in benefits and savings through reductions in energy usage, traffic congestion, and fuel costs. These 5G attributes will enable cities to reduce commute times, improve public safety and generate significant smart grid efficiencies.

The full realization of the economic growth and cost savings from leveraging Smart City solutions built on 5G infrastructure will, however, depend on how robustly 5G networks are deployed locally and will require different approaches from those used in the past.

The network deployment build of 5G will involve 10 to 100 times more antenna locations than 4G or 3G. These cells are small – the size of a shoebox – and are critical not only for delivering the speed and capacity promised by this next generation of wireless but also for supporting the increased number of devices that will be connected to the network in the future.

Transforming cities and public infrastructure

With ever-rising citizen expectations, shrinking budgets and the sustainability imperative, cities globally are looking to secure better futures by embracing data, digital, and ecosystem collaboration. In parallel, the Smart City movement is scaling beyond pilots and into core infrastructure and IT budgets. Leading cities are adopting a citizen-centered ethos, using technology as an enabler to create physical and digital services fit for the 21st century.

Public infrastructure is foundational to major urban centers and communities. Yet the delivery of those projects has barely changed in half a century, creating budget leakage and operational inefficiencies, making it difficult to meet rising citizen expectations. This is driving the pivot to digital, to better manage complex portfolios and improve asset management for both new and aging infrastructure. With new mobility solutions and 5G on the horizon, new infrastructural futures are being reimagined.

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