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City IoT: Central Nerve of a Fully Connected City

By Li Jinhui, Director, Smart City IoT Business Department, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

IoT Enhances City’s Service Capabilities

As one of the strategic emerging industries that is emphatically promoted around the world, the Internet of Things (IoT) not only facilitates the transformation and upgrade of industrial structures, but also functions as an important basis for implementing refined governance and smart services in cities.

In recent years, reduced IoT construction costs (over the past 10 years, the price of IoT processors, sensors, and network bandwidth have decreased by 98 percent, 54 percent, and 97 percent, respectively) and continuous improvements to new technologies and products (such as the IoT, Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), edge computing, and the convergence of broadband and narrowband) have drastically changed the construction and application means of the IoT. New IoT construction and applications feature ‘network infrastructures with broadband and narrowband convergence’ and ‘an ecosystem with various technologies, diversified entities, and multiple-layer applications.’

The IoT has spread to various fields in cities. It not only increases the intelligence of urban facilities such as buildings, bridges, roads, pipeline networks, lamp poles, and parking areas, but also automatically detects their running status, and further integrates with traditional industries to develop new Smart City business strategies, such as smart tourism and smart business communities. This improves the transmission, management, and service capabilities of all spatiotemporal domains in cities.

Three Core Issues Challenging City IoT

To improve and enrich a city’s ‘nervous system network’ and construct an overall sensing system, the following three core issues need to be resolved:

• Smart City scenarios are diversified, with different connection requirements, such as low power consumption, wide coverage, the coexistence of both broadband and narrowband, and the coexistence of both high density and high speed. Connection capabilities are a major challenge for Smart Cities.

• Large amounts of data need to be analyzed and processed near the data sources of fully connected cities in order to maintain timeliness and efficiency. This complicates Smart City construction.

• The integration of various IoT vertical application scenarios and service innovations is a major bottleneck for Smart City development.

‘OS/Chip + Connection + Platform + Ecosystem’ Safeguards Smart City Evolution

With the evolution of Smart City IoT, Huawei is positioned as an intelligent platform builder, an innovator of multiple connection modes, and an enabler of the IoT ecosystem. Huawei provides a complete solution featuring ‘OS/chip + connection + platform + ecosystem’ to address the challenges facing city IoT expansion, ensuring the sustainable evolution of Smart Cities.

• Huawei LiteOS: Accelerates the rise of IoT terminal intelligence. With a minimum kernel of 6 KB, LiteOS supports the lightweight secure transmission protocol, DTLS+, and LiteOS is an optimal solution for weak terminals with limited resources (such as memory, storage, and CPU) and that are sensitive to costs and power consumption, such as water meters, gas meters, and vehicle detectors in Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) scenarios. The LiteOS supports multiple network access protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Ethernet, and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), to meet the requirements for different types of terminals. The interconnection framework includes a complete device-cloud interoperability protocol stack and supports default connection to the OceanConnect IoT platform. In addition, Huawei LiteOS can be embedded in the Huawei Boudica chip. Terminal vendors can seamlessly connect to the OceanConnect IoT platform through open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and NB-IoT networks to quickly put intelligent products into commercial use.

• Integrated wireless access: Narrowband and broadband convergence for both licensed and unlicensed spectra. Huawei’s eLTE wireless private network integrates broadband and narrowband technologies into licensed and unlicensed spectra. eLTE-IoT is a narrowband IoT technology that complies with 3GPP standards. The technology operates on the Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) spectrum and features low power consumption and numerous connections. Both eLTE-Licensed and eLTE-U are broadband IoT technologies. The eLTE-Licensed solution is developed based on 4.5G, and the eLTE-U solution is developed based on 2.4G and 5.8G. The wide coverage and high bandwidth features of both solutions ensure bandwidth for video surveillance, mobile office, and other services. In addition, Huawei is the only NB-IoT supplier that can provide chips, access network devices, and IoT cloud platforms. Huawei is capable of developing protocols independently. Huawei has drafted and contributed to the creation of numerous industry standards. The company has submitted more than 1,000 proposals and over 200 of them have been approved, ranking first in the world.

• Edge computing: Real-time and fast data processing. Huawei’s Edge Computing IoT (EC-IoT) Solution innovatively introduces edge computing and cloud management into the IoT field. Edge computing gateways provide smart services for surrounding areas, and the Agile Controller can be connected to different partner application systems through open APIs or the enterprise Software Development Kit (eSDK). The solution uses cloud management architecture to implement smart interconnection and efficient management of a large number of unattended terminals in various industries. EC-IoT supports more than 17 types of interfaces and protocols, meeting the converged access requirements of different industries and scenarios for Smart City construction. This effectively resolves issues caused by the coexistence of new and old equipment, various interfaces and protocols, and connection difficulties at production sites. EC-IoT supports local real-time data analysis to achieve service implementation within 10 milliseconds in Smart City construction. This solution also supports local data aggregation, optimization, and filtering. The collected data is pre-analyzed locally, and only results and high-value data are uploaded to the cloud. In this way, a large amount of status data for Smart City construction is filtered and optimized locally, reducing the network pressure when mass data is uploaded.

• OceanConnect IoT platform: Enabling rapid industry innovation. The OceanConnect IoT platform disrupts the traditional terminal-application vertical design concept by adopting the terminal-platform-application architecture to decouple applications from terminals. In this way, the innovation, vitality, and rich scenarios of the IoT are integrated. Open APIs and unique agents can integrate various applications and connect to various sensors, terminals, and gateways to reduce service integration difficulties and help cities quickly enrich IoT scenarios. Big Data analytics help applications quickly determine the value of IoT data and reduce the difficulty of technological innovation. Cloud service suites such as public utilities and the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) can improve and accelerate the application development, and shorten the rollout time of new services. The OceanConnect IoT platform is highly recognized by the industry for its business agility, flexible operations, open ecosystem, and business achievements. OceanConnect was listed as a leader on the IHS Market’s IoT CMP Platforms Scorecard and won the Best IoT Platform award at IoT World Europe 2017.

• Ecosystem construction: Service integration and application innovation. Huawei has fostered more than 500 partnerships in the IoT field. The LiteOS open-source community aggregates the developer ecosystem. At the same time, Huawei, as one of the six founding members, initiated the establishment of the Edge Computing Industry Alliance, which has grown to more than 170 members. In addition, Huawei-Weifang Smart City IoT Industry Alliance has aggregated 52 high-quality partners from across the IoT field, both in and outside of China.

Build a Fully Connected, Intelligent World Together

The Huawei Smart City IoT is building benchmark projects around the world. Scenario-specific solutions have been widely used, including a city-level unified IoT platform, NB-IoT, eLTE broadband and narrowband convergence network, EC-IoT, smart street lamps, smart parking, smart water management, and smart sanitation. In this way, enterprises, governments, and residents around the world can enjoy more convenient and efficient work and life experiences.

In Weifang, Shandong, the IoT platform and the NB-IoT network were connected to the city’s municipal infrastructure to support 12 industrial-scale applications, such as water management, agriculture, and environmental protection, and upgrade 41 sub-domains to a smarter level. The crisis response efficiency of the city improved by 30 percent, and the labor costs for second-level fault locating were reduced by 90 percent. With approximately three-to-five years of effort, Weifang will invest approximately USD 1.5 billion (CNY 10 billion) into the development of an IoT-enabled industrial park to support the continuing innovation of applications in related industries and social fields. At the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Weifang’s IoT project was featured as an example of an IoT-based Smart City that supports sustainable development that can easily be duplicated. In addition, this Smart City stood out from more than 600 participating cities in the world and was nominated for the 2017 Smart City Award at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, the world’s largest and most influential Smart City exhibition.

In the future, Huawei will continue to embrace the concepts of customer-centric and business-driven focuses; firmly and deeply participate in the construction of Smart Cities; join hands with governments and ecosystem partners to achieve the goals of realizing smarter city administration, providing more benefits to citizens, fulfilling economic revitalization; and continue to build a fully connected, intelligent world.

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Issue 23 - Smart City Extra

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