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Making Smart Cities Smarter

Making Smart Cities Smarter


Pete Hall, Head of Sales, EMEA Submarine & MEA Region, Ciena discusses how smart city planners are focusing on converging disparate technologies into a more collaborative environment, which enables the cross-sharing of data so agencies can act to improve services to citizens and business constituents. 

Pete Hall, Head of Sales, EMEA Submarine & MEA Region, Ciena

In the era of rapid technological advancements, the GCC region has witnessed a remarkable transformation with the emergence of smart cities. These interconnected urban environments, where even the most mundane objects are connected, hold great promise to enhance the quality of life for citizens. However, with such advancements come a multitude of challenges that service providers must address to meet the soaring expectations of end users.

According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the GCC’s urban population is projected to reach 64 million by 2030, highlighting the pressing need for smart city infrastructure to accommodate rapid urbanization and ensure sustainable growth.

Additionally, a study by the World Economic Forum highlights that by 2025, smart city technologies have the potential to create $2.5 trillion in value globally, offering vast opportunities for economic development. However, achieving the perfect state of smart cities goes beyond connectivity alone.

It is important to address inherent challenges, like the lack of a clear strategy and interdepartmental coordination. Previously, many smart city projects focused on a few applications such as traffic management or lighting.  These projects were usually led by a specific agency and data generated was typically not shared outside the individual agency.

Today, smart city planners are focusing on how to converge disparate technologies into a more collaborative environment, which enables the cross-sharing of data so agencies can act to improve services to citizens and business constituents. They are looking to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to improve the citizen experience. But disruptive technologies are bandwidth and data-intensive and demand flexibility. To be able to modernize rapidly and at scale, cities and communities need a network that can constantly and reliably adapt to fast-changing demand.

While automation is a critical element, it must be part of a holistic, connected approach in order to be truly adaptable today, and better prepared for tomorrow. In this regard, the Adaptive Network is the ultimate network end-state that utilizes a combination of intelligence, software control and automation, and programmable infrastructure. Guided by data-driven analytics and intent-based policies, it is set up to rapidly scale, self-configure, and self-optimize by constantly assessing network pressures and demands.

As the GCC countries forge ahead with their digital ambitions, they will need significant bandwidth and data capacities, powered by a highly flexible network infrastructure. Unfortunately, for many service providers, identifying and resolving service issues across multi-layer networks still remains a complicated and lengthy process, slowing down the momentum.

Given that conventional service assurance tools are domain-specific and manually intensive, service providers find themselves left to correlate a multitude of alarms and metrics to pinpoint the exact root cause of each issue. By the time a root cause is identified, multiple SLAs may have already been violated, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction and churn, not to mention the negative impact on business productivity and operational expense.

What is required is a unified and automated approach to simplify service assurance across multi-layer networks. For instance, Ciena’s Blue Planet Multi-Layer Assurance automatically analyzes alarms, faults, and alerts across different layers and domains of the network infrastructure. These are then correlated and if direct relationships are found, the root cause can quickly be identified. This greatly accelerates the time to resolve service-affecting issues for improved customer satisfaction.

By leveraging transformational, new technologies, smart cities can achieve a future-proofed network infrastructure that enables them to keep pace with the ever-evolving digital landscape, ultimately making urban spots smarter and more connected, while enhancing the lives of citizens.


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