Telecoms and Smart Cities: 4 Future Focus Areas

Telecoms and Smart Cities: 4 Future Focus Areas

Telecoms are playing a front-line role in the smart city movement. How can they best support post-corona urban needs?

Today, telecoms are reliable connectivity partners for the smart city infrastructure — connecting people and things, enabling industry solutions. In the light of the ongoing pandemics, we believe smart-city technology will become increasingly important to, for example control movement, monitor myriad parameters, identify emerging hotspots, and allocate healthcare intelligently. 

We’ve already seen smart city technologies been used to handle the situation, like in South Korea, where a smart-city data hub helped epidemiological investigators and in Madrid and elsewhere, where drones have been used to enforce quarantines. The increasing need presents a clear opportunity for telecoms to move up the value chain: 

  • Data aggregation, analytics and insights
    According to estimates, there will be some 500 billion devices linked together by the end of this year. With connected devices and sensors generating zettabytes of data, there is a big opportunity for telecoms to bring together this data on top of their networks, coupling data analytics with edge computing for more contextual and timely analytics and insights. 
  • Centralized operations management
    There is an opportunity for telecoms to act as an operational hub, managing and monitoring assets in real time. Such efforts might include an intelligent control center for public safety, utilities, healthcare and other aspects, all monitored in an integrated manner.
  • Vertical-specific solutions with IoT
    There is a range of vertical-specific use cases around smart transport, connected cars, smart buildings, healthcare and other areas in which telecoms can position themselves as solution providers. For starters, healthcare is a lucrative field for remote health monitoring — the detection and analysis of healthcare data to enable predictive insights on patient health, which will only become more vital in a post-pandemic world. 
  • Managed services
    Telecoms can bring together providers and consumers under a common digital platform. They can manage services for all segments – healthcare, connected transport, smart buildings and others – to enable efficiency, optimization and scalability of resources as needed. With their experience in technology, scale and subscriber management, telecoms are well positioned to be the managed services provider for smart cities.


As telecoms mature and deepen their play in the smart-city space, they can transition from enablers to creators in partnership with governments, city planners, and IoT device and analytics players. Learn more by visiting the Communications section

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Cities adopting smart technologies are already seeing less crime, congestion, and pollution, as well as improvements in public health, productivity, and living conditions. This eBook, generated by think tank ESI ThoughtLab, provides evidence-based decision support to drive urban success.