The first Agricultural Revolution transformed human societies from hunting and gathering to farming of animals and crops. From agriculture, civilizations grew and centuries later the Industrial Revolution introduced industrialization that changed social, cultural and economic conditions and enabled rural societies to become industrial and urban. More recently the emergence of the Information Age defined by digital technologies is driving social and economic evolution.
During these waves of change, cities have benefited from urban growth. They have enriched and extended their functionality to become a prominent force for social and economic development. Today’s cities increasingly combine the physical and digital worlds to transform services and improve the lives of citizens.
There is no doubt, cities are being shaped by the innovative power of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Digital technologies are being integrated into government management, citizen services, public safety, industry development, and other urban activities.
Smart Cities are rapidly emerging from the implementation of these digital technologies. And as a new development stage following industrialization, urbanization, and informatization — Smart Cities will bring new ideas and create opportunities to improve citizens’ lives.
The development of Smart Cities is characterized by an evolution not a revolution, it has a starting point and no end. To date there have been three distinct phases and advanced cities have now entered phase 3.0.
In phase 1.0, e-Government services enabled residents and organizations to access information and services online. In phase 2.0, citizens embraced mobile Internet applications to manage their government affairs and social activities. This phase empowered governments/city municipalities to interact with citizens more frequently.
Now in phase 3.0, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the foundation of Smart Cities, and digital technologies are integrated with city governance to improve management capabilities through mass data mining. This phase will enable sustainable city development.
In phases 1.0 and 2.0, Smart Cities moved service processes from the physical world into the digital world, which helped improve efficiency and enabled paperless services. However, in phase 3.0, digital technologies are used to mirror the physical world, creating a completely new world as a ‘digital twin’. There is a vast difference in the potential value of data between these phases: If the management data of phase 1.0 is like a river, and the Internet data in phase 2.0 is an ocean, then the IoT data in phase 3.0 is more like an entire planet.
In phase 3.0, Huawei is helping governments and city municipalities streamline and converge management data, Internet data, and more importantly, IoT data. This enables customers to fully analyze and process crucial data to explore innovative services and realize new value for citizens.
Human intelligence comes from a complex nervous system that collects, transfers, and analyzes internal and external information, and then ultimately provides feedback. Similarly, a Smart City also needs a robust ‘nervous system’.
Huawei believes that cities are like living beings. The data of physical city activities is collected by sensors, cameras, and other front-end devices in real time, and then transmitted to cloud data centers through ubiquitous networks. The data centers then perform calculations and analysis using technologies such as Big Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence — and respond quickly by collaborating across functional areas.
These are the city nervous systems that Huawei hopes to build to power Smart Cities.
Huawei is committed to building world-leading Smart City nervous systems and providing a fertile ecosystem to enable massive data convergence through the Smart City Platform.
The Smart City platform features service innovation based on the coordination of key city resources. Huawei is leading this concept by building a digital platform that integrates IoT, Big Data, Geographical Information System (GIS) maps, video clouds, and converged communication resources to enable a Smart City. The platform allows governments/city municipalities to share and utilize basic resources, and opens these resources to ecosystem partners to support city governance innovation, for example in smart parking, water and utilities metering, lighting, traffic management and more.
Based on the Smart City Platform, Huawei has brought together and enabled a large number of partners to deliver top-level design, integration, operations, and service application capabilities and create sustainable Smart Cities.
Smart Cities will become a future reality around the world, and Huawei is dedicated to providing a fertile ecosystem for their development. Through our continuous efforts, we hope more and more cities aim to become smart, and that we can bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.