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The Rise of Smart Places

The revolution in communication technologies has driven the demand for access to services, data and applications from anywhere at any time. Whilst this is a more straight forward proposition to deliver in a private space or smaller public area, providing the same service for larger public spaces can be a complex and costly task if not approached in the right way. 

The need to design, build and fully manage both public and private data networks offers towns, cities and educational establishments, the opportunity to create a Smart Place that will offer many benefits both operationally and commercially. 

Managed Network Infrastructure – Enabling Smart Places

Smart Places are external large public areas such as university, college or hospital campuses and large town/city centres. They typically have a high public footfall where people regularly congregate on a business, educational or social basis.

Smart Places use digital communication technologies to make efficient use of infrastructure to enhance the overall quality and performance of existing services and to support the development and introduction of new services. 

What do Smart Places Offer?

Smart Places provide robust IT connectivity via fully integrated fibre, wireless and mobile networks, delivering flexible, scalable and secure support for a wide range of systems, services and applications. A typical Smart Place will support one or more of the following:

  • Public WiFi
  • Internet of Things
  • Support for web and mobile-based apps
  • IP based intelligent CCTV
  • Multi-purpose, IP based digital signage.
  • Intelligent traffic management system
  • Electronic service delivery - e-governance, public participation and engagement

With the relevant infrastructure and systems in location, Smart Places can provide and respond to live status updates, enabling individuals to transact and access information and services in real time. This leads to an improvement in the value and range of services offered and the overall quality of life for people working, living and socialising in that environment.

Smart Place designs are now a reality with the availability of low cost internet, WiFi enabled devices, the Internet of Things, the IP enabling of legacy systems e.g. CCTV, traffic management, digital signage and the deployment of Public WiFi and location-based services.

Realising the vision

Implementing a Smart Place (City or Campus)

As with the design and implementation of any large and complex infrastructure project, a robust foundation is key to its success. The most critical element when designing a Smart Place is to have a flexible and scalable network infrastructure that delivers ubiquitous connectivity.

The network infrastructure should be built on a resilient core fibre network, delivering high bandwidth IP connectivity. The core fibre network will then support the deployment of wireless and mobile overlay networks, ensuring connectivity is available across the Smart Place.

The Challenges:

The rewards from investing and implementing a Smart City or Campus solution are immediate, whilst also guaranteeing future benefits, in ways not currently envisaged. Unfortunately, these rewards do not come without their challenges, and although not insurmountable they are worth understanding.    

Securing the required funding:

The core fibre network will be by far the largest investment element of any Smart City or campus solution. It is important that the whole-life costs for the project over a 25 year period are considered as this should be seen as a long-term initiative and investment.

Protecting your investment/implementing a futureproof design:

The core fibre network, as the infrastructure backbone, needs to be technology agnostic whilst meeting both initial requirements and future demands with no big increase in costs.

Delivering ubiquitous coverage:

IP connectivity should be delivered and made available throughout the City or Campus supporting both fixed and mobile devices.

Complying with network security requirements:

The network infrastructure should provide the requisite level of segregation and security to support disparate systems.

Pinacl’s approach to implementing a Smart Place (City or Campus)

Pinacl have a simple approach to implementing Smart Place solutions:

  • Listen to the client - review and discuss their Smart City or Campus strategy and objectives, identify and list all relevant existing client assets, identify the available budget.
  • Compile a detailed picture of the communications infrastructure - existing, planned and future.
  • Generate design - tailored to fit the technical, operational and commercial requirements.
  • Build and propose - several commercial models to suit.

One of the key factors that differentiate Pinacl from other Smart Infrastructure providers is our ability to deliver the core fibre Network using a dark fibre network infrastructure, delivering near unlimited bandwidth.

Benefits of implementing a Pinacl Smart Place solution

Pinacl have a simple approach to implementing Smart Place solutions:

Dark Fibre Network delivering:

  • Near unlimited bandwidth
  • Long asset lifetime - 25 year plus
  • Fixed lifetime costs
  • Flexible commercial models, with ability to own fibre assets

Public WiFi delivering:

  • Ubiquitous coverage
  •  Access to local services and Internet
  • Location based services (LBS)
  • Agile network connection deployment
  • Supporting voice, video and data services

Mobile and Smart Cell Network Overlay delivering:

  • Revenue generation opportunity
  • Improved mobile voice and data coverage High speed 3G/4G service

Conclusion

The benefits of creating a Smart Place are compelling.

From enhancing the overall quality and performance of existing services to supporting the development and introduction of new services, it can lead to a reduction in costs and provide the means to engage more effectively with the public.

But, implementing a Smart Place can be a complicated and costly exercise if not approached in the right way. The technologies required are proven and mature and, if implemented professionally by a trusted partner, will deliver the expected benefits, on time and in budget.

Pinacl’s proven approach to creating Smart Places is based on our many years of industry experience and product knowledge.

Don’t just take our word for it though. Below is a short list of our recent successful Smart Place projects.

Pinacl Smart Place References

If you have Smart Place requirements that you would like to discuss or any questions about any of the above projects then please contact us on 01745 535388 or email enquiries@pinaclsolutions.com and we would be happy to set up a meeting with you.

This technical blog was prepared by Alasdair Rettie, Technical Director