There are many ideas and inspirations we can take from the Consumer’s Electronic Show (CES) 2020. As developers continue to unveil their new smart home technologies, we are seeing a vision for our future that’s giving us plenty to think about. Rather than focus on gadgets, though, it seemed profitable to look at a trend that may reshape our daily lives dramatically over the next decade or two.

  • Connected cities

Smart cities represent an entire connected ecosystem of the technologies, solutions, players, and audiences in the smart city sector. This includes:

  • The IoT
  • 5G connectivity
  • Transportation and smart automotive
  • Energy and utilities
  • Health and public safety
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Data analytics

Smart cities are connected, enabling them to provide data to self-correct and function. “Connected devices,” Intel CEO Bob Swan told reporters on January 6th, “Will increase to 56 billion by 2025, seven for each human.”

For the Power over Ethernet (PoE) industry, a technology that delivers both data and power over a single cable, this is very good news indeed. Low-power networking technology designers and manufacturers will continue to thrive and receive the funding they need as their PDs continue to grow in sophistication with increased power budgets.

Two of the most prominent players in the CES discussion were Samsung and Toyota. These giants have made themselves strong stakeholders in the future and not necessarily for the technologies you usually associate with them.

Toyota’s Smart City

In a surprising twist, the carmaker chose CES to unveil its plans for a 2,000 person smart city-of-the-future called Woven City. Construction begins in 2021, at the bottom of Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji some 60 miles outside Tokyo, on a 175-acre site that was previously home to one of their factories.

Toyota’s vision in this utopian urban vision reduces cars, their current bread, and butter, to bland pods shuttling commuters to and from the office. If this is only one element in a more extensive, more significant urban system, then Toyota has followed the thought to its logical conclusion. Roger Waters, The Irish Times.

In the first phase of development, employees and other residents will test the vehicles, robotics and smart homes in a “real-world environment.”

The Plan for Woven City Homes

Toyota and Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), have collaborated on the design of the master plan for the city. Bjarke Ingels is known for the design of 2 World Trade Center in New York, and Google’s headquarters in both London and Silicon Valley.

The company will manufacture these wood buildings using robotics. Designed to blend with historical Japanese architecture, homes will receive traditional joinery using the techniques that will be deployed to construct the sweeping roofs typical within the canon of Japanese architecture. Amidst the magical beauty of these homes, collaborators will also integrate smart home technologies.


Integrated Smart Home Technologies

Woven City’s first residents, primarily Toyota’s employees and their families, will also include retirees, retailers, researchers and other project partners, Toyota said.

“These smart homes will leverage sensor-based AI to do things automatically, like restocking your fridge, or taking out your trash — or even monitoring and addressing how healthy you are,” the architect said, joining Toyota’s CEO on stage at CES to introduce the city’s masterplan.

Architects will hide underground the inner workings of the city, like water filtration facilities and power storage and water filtration. Above ground, the designers have provided meandering common areas like parks, plazas, and walking paths.

“This will be a truly unique opportunity to create an entire community or ‘city’ from the ground up and allow us to build an infrastructure of the future that is connected, digital and sustainable, powered by Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology,” President Akio Toyoda said.


Samsung’s Smart City Concept

Samsung also unveiled its vision for the smart-city, using sensors to help residents monitor and save energy. Commuters will also enjoy the capabilities of less highway congestion. 5G communications technologies will support this connected-car system.

Not surprisingly, Samsung further plans to bundle these smart city products and services as an all-in-one package accessible from smartphones and other devices from the company. Some of these services have been launched here in Las Vegas, as well as in Seoul, Korea, which is currently 100 percent 5G.

The push for 5G is going to make smart city connectivity much more accessible. Pushing Samsung and Toyota into the development of smart city technologies ties into the spread of the IoT. Wherever devices communicate with one another, and artificial intelligence is used to analyze that data, you have the opportunity for personalized experiences.

Personalized experiences are one of the top factors driving business success today.

Where Is This Jetson’s Thinking Going to Take the Rest Us?

Smart cities promise to make all of these developers at CES a substantial return on investment. Smart cities also offer a huge opportunity for service providers to tap new revenue streams, and this is definitely an opportune time to consider what business models to develop in tandem with these visionary giants.

Better city services, education and healthcare, public safety, and goods and services to support them promise to provide a fabric of a new and smarter life.

But what role will service providers play in the smart city movement?

  • Municipal authorities will enjoy greater visibility into the lives of citizens.
  • Broadband and wireless providers will continue to build backbone infrastructures as cities move further into connectivity capabilities.
  • Software platform developers will provide smarter access points for managing the smart home.
  • Cable installers will take part in construction, expansion and upkeep for the mesh of IT connectivity along the edge and in building through the wear and tear of daily living.

How POE Technologies and Their Providers Will Fit In

Expected to grow to over $158 billion in 2022, the smart city market will have plenty of pie to go around. Now is definitely the time to develop your part of the ecosystem.

For the Power over Ethernet (PoE) industry, a technology that delivers both data and power over a single cable, the smart city and the IoT have been very good news indeed. Low-power technology is required to support all of these Powered Devices (PDs). And as they continue to grow in sophistication with increased power budgets, networks will need to develop that can support growth.

To learn more about how smart home technologies are advancing worklife and productivity, please check out these posts.

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