IoE in Smart Cities – Brownfields Vs Greenfields

By May 16, 2018Others

In Smart Cities Digital Nations: How Digital Urban Infrastructure Can Deliver A Better life in Tomorrow’s Crowded World, Caspar Herzberg elucidates how IoE can manifest in the so called 

‘Smart cities’.  A smart city is defined by its IoT presence. Not all of them are built from scratch, and not all of them are fully IoT enabled. In any case, technological penetration is subjective to the city’s terrain & level of industrialisation.

In most cities, implementing IoT is like a strategic business move; potential opportunities are identified, data is analysed to project goals/ROI, and relevant technology is deployed via a staggered rollout plan on an existing legacy system.

Risks are pre-empted with extensive testing, and the final implementation is tried & tested, and rather successful to mention the least. These attributes would fall under brownfield IoT developments. Several cities are undergoing a positive transformation and better rendering citizen services via the same.

“Many important strides will be taken with a minimum of distruption: a new kiosk system in Guayaquil, improved signage and parking systems in Barcelona – these are changes that might be perceived as the “overnight” variety.”

On the other hand, there are smart cities being built from ground up, with a futuristic vision & aspirations for large-scale implementation. The technology is created at the base level and is poised to evolve in a totally new environment. This is termed a greenfield IoT transformation, and such scenarios call for a stupendous combined effort by multiple parties.

“Others, the most challenging, will accompany large infrastructure improvements that will require many partners, billions spent on manpower, building materials, and potential service disruptions. Taxpayer dollars will underwrite the cost of these projects, governments will need political will and foresight to justify the improvements”

In his book, Herzberg sheds some light on important greenfield/brownfield developments across the world; be it creating a Healthcare park/EduCity in Nusajaya, Malaysia, or setting up an open-source sensor network (Sentilo), which doubles as a data aggregator that monitors water, energy & lighting in Barcelona.

Or how a mixture of mobile IoT solutions & large-scale digitisation models is benefitting the citizens of Guayaquil. And how common IoE goals at a regional level can contribute to the greater success of IoT solutions in a country/continent; like in South East Queensland, where all of its 5 communities are vying for smart parking, lighting, public safety, universal Wi-Fi, etc. 

His predicament is clear:

“Since IoE will become part of the foundation of commerce, quality of life, and social benefits, it becomes an excellent source of quid pro quo negotiation. New office towers and apartment complexes will not be the lot for every city dweller for generations to come. But state-of-the-art connectivity, smart security, and digitally enhanced lifestyle are all within the grasp of rich and poor alike. It is up to the decision-makers, for now, to understand that potential.

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