Unfortunately, much of the infrastructure in place in cities in the U.S. and around the world is ill-equipped to handle the growing needs of a modern and connected society. According to the United Nations, approximately 54 percent of the world’s population lives in an urban environment, and this number is expected to increase to 66 percent by 2050.
To address this issue, Qualcomm is reimagining the role of wireless technology and connectivity in today’s cities to create smart and sustainable solutions. Our approach to modernizing cities is to add wireless connectivity and intelligence to existing infrastructure to enable cities to provide state-of-the-art services.
A key component of this approach is the use of interoperable solutions that do not require a costly replacement of public and private infrastructure. Qualcomm’s efforts focus specifically on smart buildings, smart infrastructure, smart transportation and smart energy.
On March 24, Qualcomm previewed its Smart Cities initiative on Capitol Hill at an Internet of Things (IoT) showcase hosted by the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee.
One of the most well-known Qualcomm Smart Cities initiatives is LinkNYC, which aims to bring the fastest available Wi-Fi to millions of New York City residents, commuters and tourists at no cost to city taxpayers. Funded through advertising, LinkNYC connection points will house state-of-the-art wireless technology, interactive systems and digital advertising displays, provide 24/7 free Internet access with up to gigabit speeds and easy access to 911 and 311, free charging stations for mobile devices, free phone calls anywhere in the U.S., and touchscreen tablet interfaces accessing directions, services, public safety announcements and more.
Qualcomm featured other important connected infrastructure projects that have been implemented in cities across the U.S.:
- Bigbelly, a solar-powered smart waste and recycling system with on-site compaction and real-time status updates via the cloud to central station;
- anyComm, a smart node providing lighting control, safety, urban intelligence and traffic services via the cloud to central station;
- Telog, a fire hydrant water pressure recorder via the cloud to central station;
- Itron, an energy meter recorder via the cloud to central station.
In addition to these technologies, LTE-U, the provision of LTE in unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum, is another technical solution that Qualcomm is advancing to enable cities to tackle the challenge of modernizing services to keep pace with the demands of our constantly connected society. LTE-U is designed to provide seamless and reliable user experience with better performance than either LTE or Wi-Fi used individually (with longer range and more capacity,) and additional capacity for carriers to augment mobile broadband, which can be used to extend coverage. Higher capacity combined with a unified LTE network means cost savings to operators, in terms of network deployment, operation and management.
We applaud members of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee for their continued to support of innovation that will help bring greater connectivity to our cities.