Smart cities may soon have vital IoT integration architecture, to make them smart and cities

Stephen Douglas of Spirent led smart city and connected car discussions at Aston Martin's HQ

Let’s be honest. For now, smart cities are seldom truly ‘smart’, and often aren’t full cities. They’re still more a goal than a reality – apart from this the name’s OK. Well, all that may be about to change, says Jeremy Cowan.

To be clear, by ‘smart’ I mean integrated applications, sharing intelligence from multiple sources. The full value of smart city developments will only come when data from multiple sensor networks is stored in a single, vast, uniform data resource, sifted and analysed to enable, for example, rain data to inform applications not just in weather reports and forecasts, but traffic and transport management, or air and water quality monitoring. For that to happen we need to break out of the false borders of siloed data, and to integrate data feeds from multiple sensors and devices, geographies, and providers.

We also need to engage not just enterprises as data feeds, but the consumers of data too, through crowd-sourcing.

Don’t get me wrong. IoT Now shares the excitement and conviction that smart cities are going to bring city dwellers extraordinary development opportunities, and similarly impressive commercial opportunities for business. It’s just that, despite the industry hype in some quarters, we aren’t there yet.

At last week’s M2M World Congress in London, an event dominated by network operators, there were frank discussions about the roles that communication service providers (CSPs) should – and should not – play in the Internet of Things (IoT). (See our report: Do you need a crazy, IT-addicted mayor to develop a smart city?)

Stephen Douglas of Spirent
Stephen Douglas of Spirent

IoT Now asked an operator panel if telcos were well placed to capitalise on smart city initiatives, given their integration expertise learned from managing siloed voice and data services over the last decade. Bringing together applications involving diverse industries such as energy and water utilities, traffic control, environmental controls, and waste management, should come naturally to them, shouldn’t it?

The operators, however, showed a noticeable reluctance to claim any such expertise, pointing instead to system integrators (SIs). Logic says the SIs are important, but are they the full story? Where, for example, are the application integration platforms that will filter the ‘big data lakes’ so that cities benefit fully from the information available to them? And if SIs have already brought multiple network operators together in single city-wide deployments they’ve done a good job of keeping it hush-hush.

The role of an IoT Architecture Stack

Spirent led a smart city discussion at the UK headquarters of their partners Aston Martin
Spirent led a smart city discussion at the UK headquarters of their partners Aston Martin

Yesterday IoT Now was invited by Spirent to Aston Martin‘s headquarters near Warwick in the English Midlands. (You’re right, there are tougher gigs. I left with an Aston Martin … er, notepad and pen. JC) You can read about their key announcement on this site today (See separate report today:  Spirent and Aston Martin Racing continue technical partnership for 2016 World Endurance Championship.)

Towards the end of an interesting presentation, Spirent’s Stephen Douglas, IoT Solutions & Technical Strategy Lead, said his company is involved in Lifecycle Solutions and “is working to develop, certify, launch and operate IoT applications”. That means simplifying and accelerating IoT adoption through standardised developer and interoperability tools, making IoT safe and secure through intelligent certification and security testing with service assurance, and finally taking control through remote cloud management and big data analytics. But what does that mean in practice, you ask.



Spirent now offers IoT Enablement Solutions to underpin IoT ecosystems (including OEMs, network service providers, solution developers and end-to-end solution providers/SIs) as well as IoT verticals ranging from automotive and transport through consumers and smart cities to industrial IoT (IIoT). These Enablement Solutions support developers, test & security, connectivity, big data & service assurance, and IoT cloud management.

Effectively, although they don’t call it this, Spirent is offering System Integrators a smart city platform, enabling them to “bring together transport, waste, and environment solutions. It’s not a platform, but an IoT Architecture Stack.” And asked by IoT Now if they could provide this to an SI today for smart city deployment if they were asked, Douglas said some elements are coming later this year but they could start now. Spirent are currently most active with SIs in Europe and the US.

The solutions run up through the IoT Architecture Stack. Spirent now offers operational and test solutions down at the device/gateway level, working up through networks & connectivity, analytics & big data, processes & platforms, right up to the application layer.



Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow



Inpixon and Schauenburg Systems team up to sell real-time location technologies to mining companies in South Africa

Posted on: September 26, 2022

Palo Alto, United States – Inpixon, the Indoor Intelligence company, announced a collaboration agreement with Schauenburg Systems, an original-equipment manufacturer of mine safety systems and equipment, to sell Inpixon’s real-time location technologies to mining companies in South Africa. Under the agreement the parties will aim to achieve sales of hundreds of thousands of nanoLOC chips and other core

Read more

How will OEMs manufacture the smart factories of the future?

Posted on: September 23, 2022

“By 2025, there will be approximately 27 billion connected IoT devices. Someone is going to have to manufacture these, and OEMs are gearing up to enable as many functions as possible to be integrated into the devices they build.”REGISTER NOW TO READIoT relies on manufacturing efficiency to get massive volumes of devices out into the

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox