The future of smart city connectivity is multi-technology

26 June 2015
Report type: Research Note
Author(s): Alex Chau - Research Director, Head of Asia
Keywords: IoT, internet of things, internet, things, M2M, machine-to-machine, data, smart, cities, city, LPWA, Sigfox, LoRa, Weightless, Silver, Spring
Number of Pages: 6

As more and more cities look toward the M2M/IoT space to improve both operational efficiency and their citizens’ everyday lives, many have discovered that they don’t have the necessary connectivity to support the services they are planning to launch.

The current hot topic as regards connectivity is Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) network technology, and the advantages it can bring to the M2M/IoT market. On paper, LPWA is the ideal solution for sporadic, low-bandwidth M2M services. However, the difficulty facing city managers is that while the current service requirement is for low-bandwidth technology, experience has shown that this will not always be the case. New services will emerge that may require higher bandwidth and lower latency than LPWA networks can provide. A key question is whether it may make more sense in the long run for cities to build a costlier, high-bandwidth network that can support other networks, including LPWA, while also being able to handle anything that future services will throw at it – provided that funding can be obtained.

This Research Note examines the approach that city managers should take to access network technologies.

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