Ericsson exec backs LPWA to unlock smart cities


Head of IoT Data Strategy Ericsson

INTERVIEW: Rob Tiffany, Ericsson’s Head of IoT Data Strategy, backed the adoption of low power wide area (LPWA) systems to boost uptake of smart city initiatives globally, arguing the technologies could be crucial to bringing down costs for local authorities.

Tiffany explained LPWA solutions were key to “accelerating the vision of the smart city”, pointing to the vendor’s work with Telia in Sweden on smart metering for energy, which was powering 2 million connections through NB-IoT.

The Ericsson IoT expert noted using LTE-M or NB-IoT, which were now part of the 5G specification, costs “significantly less” than the traditional wholesaler connection, and would be an attractive option to governments and local authorities in the current economic climate.

“Make no mistake, costs always play a big role in everything, especially in smart cities right now, they are strapped for cash all the time,” he said.

Tiffany cited the cost of implementing smart solutions as one of the biggest challenges facing the segment, adding it was often easier and cheaper to build new solutions rather than retrofitting old things.

“When you are working with a brownfield scenario, working with very old things and have to make them smart, it’s harder to do, takes longer and the chance of failure is higher. When it’s a greenfield scenario, in a part of the world where I’m building brand new infrastructure in a new city, with new buildings and I can put in the intelligence as I’m building new things, I’m more likely to succeed than if I’m taking an old city, trying to make old things smart.”