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How 5G is providing the backbone for smart city development

Roopesh Patel, Director of Internet of Things at Rogers for Business, explains how smart cities depend on robust, reliable networks for near real-time data

looking up at skyscrapers perspective

We know cities thanks to their buildings. Whether these are famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or the Forbidden City, or the homes and business we see every day in our own neighbourhoods, buildings help make our cities unique. The connected technologies within these structures—climate control, security systems, utility sensors and more—form the foundation of smart cities. By collecting, sorting and delivering information that provides real-time insights and alerts, smart technologies provide improved comfort, increased safety and financial benefits for everyone from owners to property managers to residents and visitors.

And it all depends on robust and reliable networks serving as the conduit for this information.

This was the theme of the final discussion at the second annual IoT PropTech Summit hosted by Eddy Solutions in November, featuring Roopesh Patel, Director of Internet of Things (IoT) with Rogers for Business.

Roopesh explained how Industry 4.0—shorthand for the growing use of interconnectivity, machine learning, automation and near real-time data (or, put more simply, the Internet of Things) —is being leveraged in the PropTech world, and why the Rogers 5G network is so important to the future of Canadian smart cities.

5G and the Internet of Things

"The Industry 4.0 space stands out as an area where we are seeing an explosion of technology and innovation, adding value for all stakeholders," said Roopesh.

Referencing the propulsive growth in business-focused IoT—right now there are 10 billion active IoT devices, and the connected devices market will reach up to $1.6 trillion by 2025—he explained that 83 per cent of organizations that have adopted IoT technologies report improved efficiencies in their operations as a result.

"Cellular networks are crucial to realizing this vision," said Roopesh. "5G technology positively impacts digital experiences in smart cities. Its high speed and low latency allow us to connect a multitude of devices simultaneously."

5G and PropTech

Looking specifically at what 5G can do within PropTech, Roopesh provided an in-depth list of examples. Connected devices track and provide insights on water waste, alleviate congestion within building bottlenecks, adjust thermostats according to outdoor weather conditions, and understand and adapt to each occupants energy needs—all helping maximize efficiencies within buildings.

But as more sensors and systems are connected, we need to ensure seamless interaction between each piece of the infrastructure. The need for good connectivity and speedy movement of data is vital. The Rogers 5G network is perfectly positioned to serve as this conduit.

"5G will enable a hyper-connected future," said Roopesh. "At Rogers, we're the enablers. We're all about enabling that ecosystem with our network and finding the right partners to solve connectivity problems."

The financial benefits of 5G

In the end, of course, it comes down to the bottom line. There needs to be a convincing fiscal argument for building and property stakeholders to invest in IoT. Happily, it turns out this part is easy.

According to Roopesh, smart technology focused on monitoring and adjusting energy usage can help reduce energy costs in buildings by between 25 and 50 per cent. "That's amazing," he said. "Not only are you reducing consumption and becoming sustainable—important benefits themselves—but you're also significantly reducing a major ongoing cost. It's a win/win/win."

More than just improving efficiencies, smart technology also tends to increase asset value. Automated buildings that require less physical maintenance are, to put it simply, desirable. Especially among younger workers.

"Millennials demand modern environments," said Roopesh. "They want to be in buildings outfitted with smart technologies. These buildings have the ability to attract tenants. They reduce vacancy rates and provide developers with a selling advantage by adding appeal for residents and employees. They have an increased asset value when compared to non-connected buildings."

We'll be taking a closer look at several other subjects showcased at the second annual PropTech Summit in future posts. In the meantime, contact a Rogers for Business representative to find out how we can help your organization become part of the property technology revolution.