5G can transform smart city operations worldwide with faster device performance, safer streets, improved energy efficiency and more. It will introduce new capabilities and amenities for residents and visitors. 5G helps smart cities operate faster, strengthens community relations and enhances accessibility. Where will residents see the biggest impact?
1. Faster IoT Device Performance
The largest scale upgrade 5G will bring to smart cities is faster performance for all IoT devices. 5G supports higher bandwidth and much lower latency than previous network generations. Gadgets can transmit more data with less lag than 4G or 3G.
Low latency and high bandwidth are crucial for smart city operations. IoT devices are the core of any smart city, but their performance relies on data collection and processing. Higher bandwidth networks can support more items and the massive data transmission required. Thanks to the ultra-low latency of 5G, IoT devices will be able to process and respond to information faster.
2. Improved Resident Safety
The low latency of 5G networks is particularly beneficial for safety features in smart cities. These technologies rely on rapid responses to sensor data. Every second counts when someone’s life is in danger. 5G will allow IoT devices to detect potential issues faster and trigger the appropriate response sooner.
5G will also improve ambient resident safety features. For example, more smart cities are investing in air quality monitoring devices. Air pollution in a given neighborhood can shift quickly due to winds and weather, so this is a feature that residents would want to keep an eye on throughout the day. 5G networks have the bandwidth to support real-time air quality status updates in smart cities.
5G can even help reduce air pollution. By optimizing traffic and smart city operations, 5G may minimize road-related air pollutants, including ground-level ozone, carbon, particulate matter and more. These pollutants are dangerous to all, but they pose a particularly high risk to people who walk or bike throughout the city. Reducing traffic-related air pollution through improved traffic optimization enables smart cities to be more walkable, encouraging people to reduce travel-related emissions.
Similarly, smart security cameras will become more reliable on 5G networks. Video footage is particularly bandwidth-intensive, so older network generations limited their capabilities. 5G enables smart city security cameras to record higher-quality footage, transmit more information to safety personnel and analyze it in real time with AI.
3. Stronger Collaboration Between Cities and Businesses
One unique benefit of 5G is strengthened ties between officials and local businesses. It’s such a big step forward from 3G and 4G that it requires new infrastructure to make the most of it. Government executives must work closely with companies to innovate smart city operations and reap the benefits of 5G.
For example, the local government may pay for free 5G Wi-Fi in the city center, while utility companies are responsible for updating the local network infrastructure. The nodes needed for 5G are typically installed on utility poles, so cooperation between utilities, safety personnel, electricians and city officials is key.
This collaboration results in stronger communication between city organizations and utility companies, contractors and local businesses. Improved cooperation between these parties can lead to smart cities that are run and maintained more efficiently, creating a better living experience for residents and visitors.
4. Efficient Energy Distribution
Energy efficiency is a central concern as more people strive to reduce their carbon footprints. Smart cities use IoT devices and renewable energy to optimize electricity usage. 5G improves the performance and capabilities of power optimization systems.
This is another case where the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G networks are extremely beneficial. Energy consumption data from all over the city can be processed at once on a 5G network. This allows smart cities to monitor power usage in real time and redirect it to where it’s needed. Smart cities that use renewable power, such as wind or solar, can have the energy management system optimize usage throughout the day as sunlight and wind levels change.
For example, a big event may occur at a city park while another is empty the same night. Energy could be redirected to the lights in the busy park while dimmed in the other to conserve electricity. Smart security cameras and safety sensors can monitor both places to determine when people come and go. If a couple shows up at the formerly empty park to jog, the lights can be automatically turned back on for them.
5. Improved Quality of Life
5G improves the overall quality of life for people living in smart cities in a few ways. This includes basic everyday benefits, such as better-optimized traffic, safer public parks and innovative amenities.
For example, fast, high-density data transmission on 5G networks allows for developing large smart spaces, like stadiums. Visitors can enjoy fast and reliable Wi-Fi access, allowing them to interact with other fans during events, get live score updates, stream event footage or replays, and spend less time waiting in lines. They also have better security thanks to smart cameras and sensors that can detect when someone is in distress.
Similarly, 5G networks allow smart cities to offer free citywide wireless access. This improves equity and accessibility for residents by giving everyone free access to the internet. People can use this to find a job, communicate, go to school, find help and services, navigate, view traffic and safety updates and even translate.
Mobile translation tools like Google Translate help remove barriers for people living or traveling in foreign cities. This is invaluable for navigation and communication. Anyone with a smartphone can access Google Translate for free to translate conversations and even street signs in real time. A fast, widespread 5G Wi-Fi network can make tourism and daily life far easier for people who speak different languages.
5G Advances Smart City Operations
5G networks are key to the development of smart cities. More cities will upgrade their smart infrastructure as they become more widely available over the coming years, resulting in many improvements for residents and visitors. 5G will help promote collaboration between cities and businesses, improve accessibility, strengthen safety, optimize energy efficiency and provide innovative amenities.