• Jeff Cheng

Smart City needs proper IT infrastructure building blocks

While there is no single definition of a Smart City, there really is no way to judge whether an entire municipality or metropolis is "smart." Nevertheless, most people would agree that the premise behind a Smart City is a well-connected city that can monitor and control many aspects of daily life.

However, proper IT infrastructure building blocks must be in place to achieve this vision.

Wireless and fiber optic technologies enable the Internet of Things devices to gather data, which can then be processed through the private or public clouds and used to make decisions. Moreover, the emerging 5G technology will allow for more connected devices and greater bandwidth, vital for a Smart City's implementation. Not to mention the uphill trend of AI applications.

Then the challenges surface - Data is being generated exponentially, and the growing needs to process the data. We must ask, "How can a Smart City rapidly move, store, and consume the ever-growing data to make smart controls and decisions for its citizens?"

As a first step to realizing a Smart City, local and federal government agencies must develop a comprehensive strategy and coordinated approach. This step is the foundation for implementing and enhancing smart city infrastructure, services, and ecosystems. In addition, open data policies should be established, allowing third parties to leverage them to develop applications and provide services on the infrastructure. In addition, a dedicated function should be created within public institutions, making use of the specialized knowledge of council departments.

For a Smart City implementation to succeed, the IT and network infrastructure must be performant and future-proof.

To enable performant connectivity and services, the city must implement fiber-based software-defined networks, distributed edge AI systems, and a properly designed multi-cloud operation to create intelligent networks and systems that can adapt to the needs of citizens and create a safe and smart city. To be future-proof, the city must develop a robust methodology focusing on the metabolism of the physical and virtual IT infrastructures because of the forever-generating data, rapid technological advancements, and emerging needs of the citizens.

At Tensor Networks, we think IT infrastructure building blocks, properly created, are the solution to the two prerequisites mentioned above for quick stacking up and fabricating functional Smart City infrastructure.

Properly created building blocks should have the following features:

  1. Performant: to ensure the baseline of efficiency and efficacy

  2. Fast-Stacking: to reduce the efforts building functional infrastructures of different types

  3. Fast-Swapping: to eliminate the headaches of maintaining, repairing, and upgrading the infrastructures

  4. Based on open technologies: to promote public participation and prevent proprietary vendor-lock-in

Each feature listed above can be elaborated into a more detailed discussion. We welcome any feedback on this short article and inquiries regarding Tensor Networks' building blocks.


A Smart City can benefit citizens and leaders alike. A city can become more efficient and smart through a network of connected devices. The data collected from these devices can be used to make improvements in parking, street planning, and many other areas as soon as the supporting IT infrastructure is in place.

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