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Industry Solutions and Trends
Smart Solutions for Smart Communities: What’s Next & Who’s Responsible?
Sep 13, 2018

In a world where cyber attacks are proliferating by the day, smart city technologies have the potential to deliver increased security and transform communities, particularly in rural and developing areas. We recently surveyed 12,000 people from six countries across Europe and the Middle East to learn how their communities are using information technology as a catalyst for transforming life and work across various environments and use cases today. Our research highlights three key observations, outlined below:


Capabilities, not technology will be the driving force

Although we see a lot of stories about how the latest technologies are being used to implement smart city projects, it’s the ability to work together securely that will be the deciding factor. When asked what the key factors driving the success of a smart community initiative would be, nearly half (47 percent) pointed to interoperability, and more than a third (36 percent) cited cybersecurity. These ranked above technological developments like 5G (29 percent), cloud (28 percent), IoT (25 percent) and artificial intelligence (20 percent).


High potential and potential confusion

Our respondents were optimistic about the potential benefits of smart cities, highlighting better access to public services and information (51 percent), followed by increased public safety and improved emergency services (42 percent), services that enhance lifestyle (39 percent) and environmental improvements (39 percent). That said, a full 16 percent (just under 2000 people) said they did not know what benefits a smart community project could bring, which outlines the need for greater education.



Service providers and governments need to lead, educate and reassure

So, who should be responsible for securing smart cities? Jointly, half of the consumers we surveyed felt network operators and service providers (27 percent) and governments and local authorities (23 percent) should be primarily responsible for the security of all devices, services and data within a smart community. Once again, this highlights the need for a joint approach to ensure the successful acceptance of any smart city project.


Smart cities will mean different things to different people

The type of project suited to a megacity like Dubai won’t necessarily be applicable to a rural German village – the infrastructure, the societal culture and the community needs are completely different. Smart city use cases include everything from innovations in automated infrastructure management, environmental monitoring, autonomous vehicles, social change and population information and protection. This wide variation in scope and context can lead to confusion when talking about smart cities, which reinforces the need for clear education on the benefits to the community, as well as reassurance about privacy and security concerns.


At Juniper, we see a great opportunity for service providers to become a fundamental part of a smart city’s fabric with the support of local authorities and government. Implementing, evolving and sustaining these smart city projects are often complex undertakings. We are committed to tackling that complexity with service providers by delivering a simplified, secure and automated infrastructure.