Analyst view: Deutsche Telekom breaks new ground with its Pisa Smart City project
Breaking News Comment
Jeremy Green, principal analyst, Ovum
“Deutsche Telekom (DT) used its MWC media event to highlight the Smart City pilot project it is conducting in Pisa, Italy, and which it announced last week. Incorporating sensors at parking spaces linked to a smartphone app, the solution being tested is intended to ease traffic flow by guiding drivers to available parking. This is not a trivial matter, particularly for a tourist hotspot such as Pisa, which attracts visitors lacking local knowledge. DT cites research showing that searching for a parking is responsible for 30% of a city’s overall traffic, and argues that the solution brings environmental benefits as well as the social and economic benefits of improved traffic flow.
“The announcement is notable because this is not in a market where DT is present as a network operator, although it does use T-Mobile Austria SIM cards. DT provides the application and integration expertise, but not the cellular connectivity. Furthermore, the historic significance of Pisa means that conservation concerns have added to the complexity of the project. Finally, the sensors used are ultrasound rather than magnetic resonance as used in similar projects, and are connected to the cellular units via a proprietary radio mesh, rather than the usual cellular link. As operators pursue M2M opportunities in which they deliver more than just the connectivity “pipe,” here is an example of a telco not even being the pipe provider, but still delivering benefits.”
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