5G, IA, smart cabling and waste management at the heart of smart cities

For the 2nd edition of Making Smart Cities Sustainable Days, co-organized by Bordeaux Métropole and the NGO eG4U (ICT Users), 5G and innovations in cabling were at the heart of the debates.

With the contribution of the European standardization body ETSI, represented by its president Luis Jorge Romero, these two days brought together 120 smart cities’ environment specialists, welcomed by Florence Forzy-Raffard, Councilor for European Affairs at the Town Hall of Bordeaux, by Alain Turby and Christophe Colinet, respectively VP Digital and mission manager ‘Smart Metropolis’ of Bordeaux Métropole. Among the most relevant testimonials on ‘smart cities’ spoke  the cities of Milan, Lisbon, Ghent (Belgium) and Aarhus (Danmark).

Speed-up of French State Data Centre modernization

DINSIC (Inter ministerial Direction of the digital and the information and communication system of the French State) sent a keynote speaker to Bordeaux, testifying of its priority orientations in favor of energy saving. Alain Merle, Project Director, explained that the pooling of major IT sites in the ministries is well advanced. The goal is to reduce the number of sites, from 160 currently to less than 10 in 2025, and increase the energy efficiency of the park of date centres: “By 2018, half of the sites will have been closed” .

The migration to the cloud was addressed by specifying that three target circles were defined: very secure internal cloud for the critical business of the State (see Ministry of the Interior), internal cloud for the health sector (large hospitals) and cloud more open for some applications, including Open data.

Promises of 5G

Eric Stern, IT & Telecom Expert (formerly Orange Labs), spoke about the strengths and limitations of 5G for the future services of smart cities: “5G will be a prerequisite for collection and routing of huge quantities of data generated by all devices and objects connected to the network. This is a “raison d’être”. Some use cases will also be able to take advantage of other assets, such as very low latency (announced to less than 1 ms, so applicable to autonomous vehicles), high resilience, very high level of security and of wide scalability “.

It should be borne in mind that 5G introduces a new virtualized function based network architecture (NFV) and Software Design Network (SDN) based routing management. This new approach enables core network and dynamic access management, as it is currently found in cloud-based IT infrastructures, based on virtual machines or containers, which brings increased agility and responsiveness in provisioning and orchestration of network components. One of numerous innovations brought by the 5G is that it will enable to cut the network into “slices” and allocate part of its broadband to a tenant, for its own needs (mass distribution, management of ‘IoT, autonomous vehicles, …). The concept of “RAN* as a Service”, will offer the appropriate connectivity and specific characteristics (latency, bandwidth, security, QoS …) expected for the needs of the service.

In addition to these new IT infrastructures that will replace telecom sites as we know them. Right now, the question of the cost of 5G infrastructure deployment in urban areas must be raised because of the need for a very tight mesh of micro cells. It will be necessary to ensure correct processing of offered services and to guarantee quality. This will be hudge investment and every effort must be made to minimize installation costs by taking advantage of already existing urban infrastructures (pylons, street light poles, etc.) as well as the energy consumption inherent to its operation.

*Radio Access Network

‘Smart grid’ networks seen by Airbus

Airbus, in the person of Jean-Marc Alberola, ‘group energy strategy leader’, showed how large industrial sites are inspired by Smart Cities projects: five smart grid pilot projects have been defined. Such initiatives must be of a break-up type because “incremental improvements are ineffective. In terms of environment protection, “we must invent new models in a circular economy” and “all the bricks arranged on the projects must be standardized”.

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in utility networks

Arnaud de Moissac, co-founder of DCBrain, a start-up specializing in AI for flow networks, stressed that data in cities has become essential to support performance, especially in the energy field, and to optimize infrastructure costs. The target actors of IA applications are confirmed to be the utilitarian physical networks (heat, gas, water, electricity …), or supply chain networks. “Given the heterogeneity of data, standardization is needed more than ever for massive deployments”, he said.

End-of-life treatment in the world of Communication Information Technologies (ICT)

The treatment of ICT waste was widely presented by Gilles Dretsch (Orange) based on ADEME proposals and the first global standard on the subject, European standard ETSI EN 305 174-8.

Fiber Optic (FTTH) and Copper (xDSL) Cabling

The advantages of fiber optic cabling were presented by Philippe Bolle (Skylane Optics).

The cabling infrastructure in the technical columns of the buildings, including the installation, has been described by Olivier Bouffant (Orange), not only for FTTH (fiber to the home) but also xDSL and coaxial cabling.

IP video surveillance

An IP video surveillance system that can be deployed on existing coaxial networks was introduced with a demo. This system allows  remote power supply of the terminal devices by this coaxial network.




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