‘A lack of blood within the brain affects a Smart City’s thinking and judgment.’ Huawei has expanded its understanding of Smart City as well as its interpretation of the Smart City ‘nervous system.’
A ‘Smart Brain’ Is Not the Only Value of a Smart City’s ‘Neural System’
During the Big Data Expo in May 2018 at Guiyang, China, Huawei’s Smart City exhibition area hosted dozens of local and regional mayors. Zheng Zhibin, Vice President of Huawei’s Strategy Department and General Manager of Huawei Global Smart City Solution said, “City managers were first attracted by the more than 4,000 indicators of the seven modules running in the ‘smart brain.’”
The indicators signify that application scenarios from each domain are reflected in the ‘smart brain,’ and ecosystem partners can customize the ‘smart brain’ based on each city’s different development requirements. However, Zheng Zhibin added, “The ‘smart brain’ is just one part of the ‘nervous system’ of Huawei’s Smart City solution. Based on the city’s all-scenario data being perceived, transmitted, and analyzed by the ‘nervous system,’ Huawei has deployed various functions such as situational awareness, operations monitoring, convergent command, and decision analysis to achieve multi-scenario smart management.”
Reinterpreting the ‘Nervous System’
Zheng Zhibin’s words served as the new interpretation of the Smart City ‘nervous system.’ A Smart City is a combination of ‘city + town + production.’ Therefore, each functional module of a Smart City should collaborate with each other.
In November 2017, Huawei proposed the concept of a ‘nervous system’ for Smart Cities. The purpose was to deeply integrate cloud computing, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile Internet, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into city application scenarios to build Smart City technical systems and a collaborative ecosystem. These systems and ecosystems would then enable ubiquitous perception, connectivity, data, computing, and intelligence.
In this concept, the ‘central nerve’ (aka, ‘smart brain’) of the Smart City is the city’s Intelligent Operation Center (IOC) and Big Data center. The ‘central nerve’ not only monitors the operation indices of the city, but also supports emergency linkage, analysis, and decision-making. The ‘peripheral nervous systems’ (city awareness network systems) correspond to the city IoT wired and wireless communications network, and automatically collect and transmit all-scenario data.
During the Expo, Huawei updated its interpretation of the ‘nervous system.’ Smart Cities detect resident activities in real time through sensors and video systems; the perception data is transmitted to the city center through ubiquitous networks; and technologies such as cloud computing, Big Data, and AI calculate and analyze the data to support innovative Smart City application systems.
Smart City Neutral System 2.0
What are the differences between the old and the new interpretations?
Huawei is gaining insight into the construction mode of Smart City infrastructure from the perspective of top-level design. Huawei is currently emphasizing that the ‘nervous system’ is a collection of hardware and software capabilities for various ICT infrastructures in cities.
In 2016, Huawei proposed the ‘One Cloud, Two Networks, and Three Platforms’ solution architecture for Smart City. In 2017, Huawei proposed the Smart City Neural System 1.0 and reconstructed the previous solution architecture into the ‘central’ and ‘peripheral’ nervous systems based on application value.
The current reinterpretation shapes the ‘Nervous System 2.0.’ Under it, Huawei further emphasizes the association between different nervous systems and the integrity and coordination of the Smart City solutions. The ‘peripheral nervous system’ is the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of the Smart City. An insufficient blood supply to the ‘brain’ (‘central nervous system’) will affect a Smart City’s judgment. A Smart City is a living being. If the ‘brain’ lacks data perception and data transmission capabilities, it will gradually lose its ability to evolve, and will be unable to continuously iterate or generate wisdom.
Smart City Foundation
From an ecosystem and application perspective, the ‘nervous system’ demonstrates the significance of Huawei’s ‘platform + ecosystem’ architecture. An open platform serves as the Smart City’s foundation for the ecosystem to create wisdom. Currently, Huawei has signed contracts with 30 Smart City strategic partners and established stable cooperation with more than 1,100 solution partners and more than 5,600 channel service partners.
Based on the ‘platform + ecosystem’ architecture, Yao Jiankui, Chief Engineer of the Smart City Sector for Huawei Enterprise Business Group, believes the ‘neural system’ of the Smart City is not a simple functional overlay. In fact, the ‘neural system’ not only implements the support and linkage between the ‘brain’ and ‘organs’ of the city, but also supports the smart innovation of ecosystem partners. Furthermore, the ‘neural system’ achieves universal association and collaboration among various subsystems such as transportation, education, medical care, energy, environmental protection, government management, and public safety.
This is Huawei’s reinterpretation of a Smart City’s nervous system. Just as human wisdom is derived from a complex nervous system that collects, transmits, considers, and responds to the body and its environment, Smart Cities also need a robust ‘nervous system’ to enable the complete neural reaction process from front-end perception to decision-making and action.
Coordinated Smart City
How can a complete neural reaction process be achieved?
Huawei’s answer is by building Smart Cities with ICT resource coordination. In fact, the ‘nervous system’ concept embodies Huawei’s Smart City construction experience and reflects its capabilities for integrating words with actions. In early instances of Smart City construction, the focus of the projects was not smart innovation. Instead, resources were primarily invested in the interconnection and interworking of ICT infrastructure with the goal of service system and data convergence.
We often complained that more than 10 cameras were installed on a wire pole, yet ignored the hundreds of IoT sensors from different departments; we criticized the repeated construction of urban pipelines, and yet we ignored isolated Geographical Information Systems (GISs).
These double standards are due to a lack of overall thinking. All underlying Smart City ICT resources need to be coordinated. Take Smart Gaoqing as an example. The government conducted Smart City construction based on the ‘One Private Network, Five Coordinations, and N-applications’ concept, and achieved Big Data, GIS-mapping, video-cloud, converged-communication, and IoT resource coordination.
The Gaoqing model is the rudiment of Huawei’s Smart City Digital operating system and the embodiment of coordinated Smart City design. In this model, Huawei integrated Big Data, GIS, video, communication, and the application understanding capabilities of its partners. Through ICT resource coordination, city data convergence and multi-service collaboration were applied to improve city operational efficiency and service capabilities. The automatic data collection and ‘nervous system’ analysis enabled the city’s self-management, self-operation, and self-optimization.
No One Is Born Smart
In Smart City construction, actions speak louder than words. Smart Cities are not born with the ability to think, just as no one is born smart. The sharing and coordination of the underlying ICT software and hardware platforms, and the integrated data perception, transmission, and analysis capabilities are the driving force of Smart City self-evolution and self-development — and fundamental to continuous iteration and wisdom.