The role of telecom companies within smart city projects is typically that of the connectivity services provider. Many also offer integrated solutions or even act as project leaders, however, that enables them to incorporate a bigger share of the project’s value.
Smart city technological value chain
The technological value chain of a smart city has many layers, including devices, networks and applications. At its top sits an integrated operations centre, which acts as the control hub where data from different applications and vertical services converges for better operational management.
Under it, the application/vertical layer provides the back-end intelligence that gathers, verifies, analyses, stores, reports and acts on the data. These platforms interact with devices and other systems to send and receive information, which can also be shared with the public via portals or handsets.
In the middle, the remote management layer links devices communication and applications, being closely associated with service providers operating the network layer. The latter connects the device layer, comprised of a very wide variety of devices, from sensors to vehicles. Devices contain chipsets and modules such as SIMs (for cellular connectivity) and other components.
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Along the value chain, several players are involved, from project owners and managers, typically the city’s local authorities, to solution providers offering software, hardware, and connectivity services. These can offer individual or integrated solutions.