By Doug Cooley.

Advanced communication networks are vital to smart cities. These networks — public and private, wired and wireless — are what connect people, objects and sensors. They enable the flow of data required for innovative solutions in energy, transportation, water and buildings.

Yet a recent report from Navigant Research suggests that smart city leaders overlook the critical importance of their communication infrastructures and key network considerations like bandwidth, latency, security, privacy and scalability.

“Most attention in the smart city community has focused on the upper communication layers and applications — including IT and data management — that govern how a smart city operates and enables the collection and analysis of new data sources,” says Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research.  “Without the underlying communication infrastructure, however, the smart city vision cannot be realized.”

The report, titled Smart City Communication Networks, finds that smart city communication environments remain highly fragmented, with different technologies serving different constituencies. This mix of technologies impedes the development of more integrated smart city solutions.

Navigant forecasts that worldwide revenue from communication nodes for smart cities, and the infrastructure and services to support them, will grow from $2 billion in 2014 to $3.55 billion in 2020.The report analyzes the challenges and opportunities for smart city communication networks, with a focus on the five main sectors: smart energy, smart transportation, smart water, smart buildings, and smart government.

An executive summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Originally posted at Smart Cities Council.