Until now, the development of territories has been carried out over time with the deployment of independent technical solutions that respond to identified and circumscribed issues: installation of public lighting to make night-time travel safer, deployment of heat or energy networks to improve comfort, installation of waste collection and water distribution networks to improve hygiene, deployment of communication and transport infrastructures to promote exchanges, etc. These non-mutualized deployments have progressively created silos, one consequence of which is to present territory managers with a fragmented vision of territorial functioning.
Issues and challenges for cities
In recent years, cities and territories have been confronted with a rapid increase in their population, growing environmental challenges and the exponential expectations of their inhabitants. Thus, the stakes are changing, and elected officials must now respond to these new, more global and more complex citizen expectations, such as improving the well-being of all, while respecting everyone’s freedoms and taking into account the local specificities and sustainability of the territory.
For some cities, improving the well-being of citizens is synonymous with strengthening the attractiveness of tourism and revitalizing the city center with the return of local shops. For others, well-being will be synonymous with improved air quality, urban cleanliness and ease of travel.
These new challenges must be taken into account while keeping the municipality’s budget under control by improving and optimizing its functioning, which are all strong intrinsic expectations of citizens. Thus, the use of digital technology to meet these new challenges has given rise to the term “Smart City“.
Digital input in the decision-making system of cities
The importance and ongoing evolution of technologies has naturally pushed local authorities to begin their digital transformation. In particular, they have automated and digitized existing technical solutions (public lighting, water and energy distribution networks, automatic watering, parking management, etc.) in order to meet these global challenges.
A territory-specific solution is needed to meet these new challenges and global expectations. The solutions deployed until now, even digital ones usually lack relevance because of their intrinsically compartmentalized nature.
The real added value of digital technology is to provide a more holistic, more precise and more factual vision of how a territory functions and the influences that can be exerted on it.
This new vision, more precise and adapted, is based on the collection and processing of territorial data, which leads to the creation of information with high added value, resulting from the combination, correlation and comparison of this various data.
This enriched information thus strengthens the knowledge of elected officials on the global functioning of their environment and also gives them a greater capacity for action.
Managers can then make data driven decisions to meet the complex challenges facing the territories and the expectations of citizens by making their city more attractive, more sustainable, more efficient in its management and more secure.
But a smart city is also about improving the day-to-day relation between the various stakeholders in the area: administrators, businesses, citizens, tourists. This could be considered as being part of a smart government approach.
This part is what the citizen sees as physically present in their lives.
The combination of the two gives citizens a coherent, more organized and effective vision. This will produce concrete results that support a program and vision imagined by the elected representative.
Expertise at every stage of the data journey
For the whole system to work, it must have this technical foundation, enabling the creation of a platform that collects, transports, stores and secures all data relevant to the territory. It also makes it possible to correlate, compare and combine this data with externally sourced data, in order to create new information for city managers.
Axians holds the expertise in how to create the technical base for the local authorities, which participates in the reinforcement of the knowledge of its managers, with the final objective of improving the well-being of the citizens.
All of Axians’ expertise contributes to the creation of this technical base that materializes our complete value proposition. What we do is to provide cities with precise, useful values that will enable them to make decisions based on concrete facts, in real time.
Axians IKVS is one of these clear examples with its interactive budget and benchmarking database, which not only offers full transparency on a city’s performance against its budget data, but also includes sustainable development goals and comparisons with their respective peer groups. All this can also be made public, in full or in part, to citizens via a web portal.
In addition to being a specialist in all the technological building blocks that make up the Smart City’s technical architecture, Axians is also an expert on the telecom infrastructures deployed in the territory which enable the flow of data between each element of the digital chain. Axians connect sensors and other devices, such as cameras, and ensure the collection and transport of data from the territory to the Cloud, which hosts the server and storage infrastructures of the technical base. The data is enriched by data analysis processes and as a consequence the development of specific business applications increases the value of the new information created.
The deployment of enterprise networks enables local authorities’ managers to access these applications and collaborate with each other using collaborative solutions that facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge, enabling them to be more responsive, efficient and relevant. The circulation, storage and use of this data must, of course, be done with the utmost respect for the security of goods, people and the data itself through the deployment of Axians’ appropriate cyber security solutions.
Knowing how to adapt to growing dynamics
At Axians, we foresee cities as an evolving story.
Cities can experience great evolutions, as much on the political, geographical as on the technological level. It is often a strong correlation as the city decision-makers implement great changes so that the city can correspond to the promises made to the citizens. Promises that are generally closely linked to the various local challenges and current national issues. As an integrator, we take great care to set up a system that is fully open and flexible so that it can be easily deployed step by step in order to take into account the deployment and adoption pace appropriate for the territory. The system should be deployed in a stepwise manner, and not necessarily all at once. A first section is initially deployed to answer two or three first use cases and therefore give a vision and a context that can be later enriched.
Right from the start, it’s important to install all the components that will ensure the system’s operation, even if it’s limited. The idea is to grow the system over time, but to ensure that all technical elements are present from the outset, so that they can evolve according to city needs.
Customization and local knowledge for each one of our clients
Axians works in a vertical way which gives deep knowledge on many sectors, even within a city.
This dynamic is also linked to an increasingly close relationship between a city’s various vertical sectors such as education, healthcare, energy, utilities, urban transport etc. Axians acts agile and flexible as everything has to be considered from a holistic perspective, much more than before.
At Axians, many experts work together from different markets and countries in order to benefit from a wide spectrum of knowledge and to offer their customers concrete and smart solutions. Axians is currently working with Rotterdam to become one of the smartest ports in the world. The port of Rotterdam will create a digital twin of the port to track ship movements, infrastructure, weather, geographic and water data. The digital replica will help the port to improve efficiency and overall operation. The objectives are to reduce the waiting time for cargo entering the port, enable a more accurate and efficient planning of berthing times for loading and unloading cargo, reduce fuel consumption rates of ships, improve the operation of the hinterland, including waste removal, and improving the flow of road traffic to the cities by integrating data from inland warehouses and logistic companies to allow them to adjust their schedules when a ship is delayed. Last but not the least, to be able to accommodate autonomous ships from 2025.
Its decentralized structure allows Axians to be flexible and deliver a lot of different solutions. Concrete stories and solutions are internationally transferable as we leverage our experience to adapt to other cities. Our increased international collaboration enables us to provide the best services and cutting-edge solutions. As Daniel Riss, Business Area Manager Business Applications & Data Analytics, Axians Germany said:
“Our experience is not always transposable, which is why we have the ability to adapt to local specifics by relying on close collaboration with all the city’s stakeholders and our local experts.”
At Axians, we help our customers in all areas, from physical cabling to management software, predictive maintenance, equipment maintenance and security. We manage sensors, networks, and applications in important urban areas such as irrigation, car and people flow measurement, lighting, air quality, building management and parking. Axians has a solid vision of how to deploy smart city solutions, based on its in-depth knowledge of all the technologies on which smart city solutions are based: Wifi, LoRa WAN, connectivity, fiber optic networks, Cloud & Data solutions, data analytics and cybersecurity.
“Axians is a true technology enabler, bringing together multiple systems and software in the city so that city decision makers can make the right choices”, said Alberto Castellin, IOT specialist, Axians Italy.
Axians will continue to guide its customers with best-in-class solutions and support providing the right information, thus allowing the decision makers to capture their intended vision.