Interoperability, Not Technology Will Drive Smart Communities Development say EMEA Consumers
Research from Juniper Networks reveals that consumers look to service providers and governments working together to lead, educate and assure communities
LONDON, September 12, 2018 – Juniper Networks, an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, today announced new market research* that it conducted with YouGov which suggests that consumers place capabilities like interoperability and cybersecurity over technological advances like 5G, cloud, IoT and automation when it comes to which key factors will support the enabling of “smart communities”. These are communities using information technology to act as a catalyst for transforming life and work, across a wide variety of environments and use cases. Spanning rural villages all the way to the newest megacities, these use cases include innovations in automated infrastructure management, environmental monitoring, autonomous vehicles, social change and population information and protection.
The survey of over 12,000 consumers across six countries in Europe and the Middle East also reveals that service providers and local authorities are the lynchpin to enabling, securing and educating smart communities. Furthermore, the research highlights that there are high expectations for the potential benefits that smart communities can deliver, but also shows that there is still a need for education on how specific communities can benefit from individual projects.
Smart community implementations can deliver a wide range of benefits, but different opportunities exist for different groups. The location, environment and types of available technology will all impact the nature of a given initiative, as highlighted by the variation in responses about what potential benefits smart communities offer and what environments are expected to benefit most. This can lead to confusion when talking about smart communities, and reinforces the need for clear education on the benefits to the community, as well as reassurance about privacy and security concerns.
- Nearly half (47 percent) cited interoperability as a key factor to support the success of any smart community initiative. Furthermore, more than a third (36 percent) cited cybersecurity as a vital enabler of success. These were ranked as higher importance than next generation mobile connectivity (29 percent), internet based infrastructure i.e. cloud (28 percent), sensors and connected devices i.e. IoT (25 percent) and automation through machine learning and artificial intelligence (20 percent).
- Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said that network operators and service providers should be primarily responsible for the security of all devices, services and data within a smart community. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) said this responsibility should lie with the local authority/government. Together, this represents half of the respondents and highlights the need for a joint approach to ensure the successful acceptance of any smart community project.
- Better access to public services and information was the primary benefit, cited by approximately half (51 percent) of respondents, followed by increased public safety and improved emergency services (42 percent), services that enhance lifestyle (39 percent) and environmental improvements (39 percent). Sixteen percent said they did not know what benefits a smart community project could bring, reflecting the need for education.
- When asked how they would expect the connectivity across smart community services to be achieved, a third of respondents (33 percent) said that it should be “a collection of network service providers relying on common standards”. However, nearly a quarter (23 percent) said they did not know and 18 percent said it should be a single network that is owned and operated by the local authority/government.
- When it comes to the potential challenges of implementing a smart community project, data privacy (42 percent) and data and infrastructure security (40 percent) were highlighted as the top two concerns.
“Smart community projects and initiatives have the potential to leverage cutting-edge technologies such as IoT, 5G, multicloud and machine learning to enhance, and even transform, people’s daily lives, particularly for those in rural and developing areas. This research shows that consumers recognize this, but want common standards and security to be at their heart. Similarly, the wide scope and variation within any given smart community initiative reinforces the need to inform and reassure constituents about specific benefits and how challenges are addressed. We see there is a great opportunity for service providers to become a fundamental part of a community’s fabric, supported by local authorities and government. Implementing, evolving and sustaining these smart community projects are often complex undertakings and Juniper Networks is committed to simplifying that complexity with service providers by delivering a simplified, secure and automated infrastructure.”
- Tom Ruban, Vice President, Systems Engineering EMEA at Juniper Networks
*Market Research commissioned by Juniper Networks from YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 12,180 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th June - 11th July 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults (aged 18+) from all countries included in the survey.
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