Nowadays, cities are facing the challenge of providing new services to their citizens raised from emerging solutions related to mobility, security, energy and others. Those services require cities to become more agile in detecting and respond to events. This need can be achieved by adapting to their environment in real time bringing computational capabilities closer when and where those events occur. This provides a flexible city infrastructure that can be scaled and balanced to provide the demanding low latencies, reliability and bandwidth.
The provision and management of city infrastructures is then becoming more complex as the adoption of this solutions progress. New physical and virtual resources require defining a clear strategy of the roles and actors that will be present in this emerging ecosystem to provide connectivity, edge compute hardware, software virtualisation and network slicing among others. Usually, cities have a key role due to the fact that cities are owners of some of the infrastructure assets that are required in this edge computing ecosystem (optic fibre connectivity, street cabinets, lamppost, data centers) and regulators of the new ones still to be deployed.
The Barcelona smart tower solution is one of the examples that illustrates how can cities start facing this discussion. The Smart Tower solution converts traditional city lamppost into a new telecommunication micro-site that integrates wireless communication devices, sensors and compute hardware based on the service to be deployed in a specific area. Here, the city acts as an infrastructure provider offering on street location with core services like connectivity and power supply. On the other hand, service providers have to supply their own service hardware, on street deployment, operation and management of the service and decommission of the solution when needed.
Edge computing solutions bring new business models on the table. Pledger’s like solutions require the deployment of a software platform on top of an underlying infrastructure and this platform will also host a series of services for the end users. Will cities have to supervise the services that third parties provide? Will there be usage fees of the infrastructure? What responsibility have cities on the services those third parties will provide? Who validates and certifies them?
Infrastructure and platform owners, platform providers, service providers and owners, trusted service validators, etc. All of them have to coexist in the near future and the right solution will come only after the discussion and participation of all the stakeholders involved. In this scenario, Pledger will bring new edge compute services providing the necessary tools for current and future challenges.