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SDN. Makes Cities Smarter

Jan 4, 2016

Cities are getting smarter with the help of SDN and NFV. Dan Pitt discusses how these technologies make smart cities possible around the world.

Smart Cities

Smart cities: They aren’t just something we see in sci-fi movies anymore. With SDN and NFV, our cities are advancing in ways that we’d only imagined. In my latest Light Reading article, I address how these technologies empower cities to become smarter, improving the lives of those who live in them. Below is an excerpt from the article. To read the piece in its entirety, click here.

There’s an interesting phenomenon afoot—the growing list of “smart city” initiatives. Around the globe, cities large and small are adopting “smart” technologies including high-speed optical networks, Internet of Things (IoT), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) in order to enhance the livability, sustainability, and efficiency of their communities.

Cities’ residents are driving many of these initiatives to enhance public services, which run the gamut from arts and cultural projects to improving air quality, transportation, energy, wellness, and water use. It’s exciting that SDN and NFV are helping to democratize technology and power services that positively affect people’s lives.

For example, SDN’s flexibility makes it possible for smart cities to offer creative, highly granular services to their residents, businesses, and industries, leveraging applications written by and for diverse groups of users. SDN and NFV also make it possible to deploy city-scale networks by supporting load balancing, service chaining, network-level data security, and bandwidth reservation.

Likewise, IoT devices and machine-to-machine communication play a crucial role in smart cities. For example, security cameras, smart utility meters, sensors, and other IoT devices can collect data on everything from traffic and weather patterns to energy use, water consumption, and carbon dioxide levels. This data is typically transmitted to a central processing “hub” where it can be analyzed and used to pinpoint water leaks, alleviate traffic congestion, facilitate parking, improve air quality, and even allocate bandwidth to a stadium to enable live streaming of an event.

My full article discusses specific examples of smart cities, my experiences with the Bristol Is Open venture, and how the U.S. smart city program is taking off. Read it on Light Reading here.

– Dan Pitt, Executive Director