5G Smart Cities Whitepaper

Compiled by Deloitte jointly with China Unicom

2019 is the first year of 5G commercialization. Seeing the urgent need for the planning and development of 5G smart cities across the country. Deloitte China Technology, Media & Telecommunication Industry and China Unicom Smart City Research Institute jointly released this 5G Smart Cities Whitepaper. The whitepaper explores smart city development trends in the 5G era, with a focus on typical application scenarios in transportation, safety and security, environmental protection and governance, among other areas. The Whitepaper also sets out the major challenges and implementation approaches to 5G smart cities to facilitate their creation across China.


Viewpoints / key findings

The new era of smart city development

  • Information and communication technologies are burgeoning worldwide. Key technologies such as 5G networks, IoT, cloud computing, big data analytics and next-generation geo-information systems, once novel concepts on paper, are being experimented on and implemented in real applications. This has spawned new use scenarios and innovative management models, bringing more possibilities to smart cities.
  • 5G-led ubiquitous sensor networks a cornerstone of smart city development; meanwhile, the unique ability of 5G networks to meet differentiated smart city needs, smart edge system built on 5G and other technologies for collaborative intelligence.

5G unleashes the potential of smart city applications

  • With the deployment and commercialization of 5G networks, enabling vertical industries with 5G—one of its most important application scenarios—has become a hot topic in smart city development.
  • By enriching technical resources to achieve V2X, 5G technology gives birth to integrated "cloud-application-terminal" networks for communication, supervision and decision-making, as well as new transport architecture, paving the way for innovative applications.
  • 5G and smart security can empower city-wide security monitoring systems and efficient protect city anywhere, anytime
  • Environmental governance is not yet fully served by traditional monitoring methods, which have insufficient regional coverage and frequency. A new era of environmental protection and regulation will begin as 5G technologies mature and are applied.
  •  5G technology can meet the needs of smart healthcare, and vigorously promote fair, accessible and inclusive healthcare reform.
  • 5G and other new information technologies can assist the government's response to achieve smart governance.

Building a smart city with 5G elements: challenges and pathways

  • A new smart city construction contains multiple and diversified use scenarios, will be led by top-level design, and uniquely tailored approach with an order of priority.
  • It is difficult to implement 5G smart city in totally, a bottom-up approach is needed during implementation, working from small pilots to larger application to build up smart city micro units.
  •  Massive investment and unclear business models prevent smart city synergies from forming. An innovative model is needed for sharing development, governance and benefits.
  • Information silos arise easily in smart city construction. Smart city operators should consolidate resources for efficient usage, break technology and organization silos to achieve interconnectivity of data, information and other resources and make use of this to provide services.

Thoughts on the role of operators in the 5G era

  • While offering efficient network infrastructures and connectivity, telecommunication operators and partners in smart city ecosystems will join hands to develop smart applications and ecosystems that usher in a new era of co-development, co-governance and co-existence.
  • Operators should clearly define their roles and positions, fully utilize available resources and provide quality services to all smart city participants. 
  • Operators will innovate new types of business, new business models, and new cooperation model to drive smart city.

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