The TM Forum recently launched its Smart City Forum, which is taking a proactive role in merging the various digital ecosystems into a platform that underpins smart cities.
There are numerous "next big things" in technology these days and count smart cities as one of the biggest. According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, smart cities will be a $400 billion market by 2020. But in order for smart cities to reach fruition, a lot has to happen over the next few years. Carl Piva, vice president of strategic programs at TM Forum , will go over the key steps for prioritizing strategic planning for smart cities during Telco Transformation's On-the-Air Thursdays radio show on Feb. 18 at 12:00 p.m. ET (9:00 a.m. PT.) (See IoT Gears Up for Smart Cities, Cars.)
Ahead of the radio show, Telco Transformation spoke with Piva to find out more about the Smart City Forum and smart cities in general. Make sure to tune in to the show on Feb. 18 so you can ask Piva questions during the live audio portion of the show, and on the post-show online web chat. Register here: Prioritizing Strategic Planning for Smart Cities.
Telco Transformation: So the obvious first question is: Why did the TM Forum launch the Smart City Forum?
Carl Piva: It was time to do the same thing for smart cities that the TM Forum set out to do some 27 years ago for the communications industry. We come from having created a lot of de facto standards and best practices for the communications industry. With smart cities, all of these other industries are melting together more and more using the same principals. We have smart health, smart grid, smart transportation and whatever else smart. What is really cool about a smart city is that it's the place where all of these disparate ecosystems come together. So communications crashes into health, crashes into transportation and crashes into all of the other smart initiatives.
In a sense, the smart city has become a microcosm for where all of these things converge. What makes it different from communications is that you don't yet have a global approach where cities view these things in a similar fashion. Cities are still fairly focused on developing their own schemes, their own platforms and models. In the future, you will see a solution within cities where they try to rationalize these networks and ecosystems in a much more homogenous way. That's really the role of the forum.
Carl Piva, vice president strategic programs, TM Forum
TT: So how will the Smart City Forum accomplish its mission?
CP: In three key areas: livability, sustainability and workability. Livability is about making cities more attractive places to live in and fostering stronger communities. On the other hand, it's about workability for businesses. Making it interesting and attractive for established businesses to get them off the ground so they become the places that employers want to go. Sustainability is making sure that you use this as a step into the new economy, where ownership becomes less interesting and sharing assets when you need them are more interesting.
TT: Can you give us an example of sharing assets within a smart city?
CP: Sharing everything from taxis to hotel rooms to maybe food and washing machines. There are lots of things that can be done around sustainability using Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The three areas I mentioned are the general driving forces for most smart city innovation out there.
That's really the role of the forum. In these three areas, we want to focus on driving these global de facto standards and best practices that people haven't been driving so hard just yet. There hasn't been that type of collaboration on a global scale because this is so new.
It's about moving to a new challenge that hasn't been solved where all of these digital ecosystems collide. It's a daunting task, but if we just take the right set of challenges we can piece this together one piece at a time. We just have to work together with the right constituents.
—Mike Robuck, editor, Telco Transformation