- Published: 30 March 2023
I may date myself with a headline referencing the movie Get Smart, but it's always been one of my favorite spy comedies that’s been reimagined over the years. In it, Maxwell Smart plays a bumbling secret agent who relies on a shoe-phone to conduct clandestine conversations. Smart’s dual-purpose footwear is an early representation of today’s modern smartphone, and a good friend of mine likes to tease me about it still being the most innovative tech device, given my role covering 5G and telecommunications as an industry analyst.
With that humorous digression aside, late last year I had the opportunity to meet twice with officials from the City of Las Vegas to learn more about its “smart city” aspirations. That term—smart city—can mean different things to different people, and different municipalities. One size does not fit all. In this piece, I want to dive deeper into my conversations with the city's chief innovation and technology officer, Michael Sherwood. NTT is also a strategic partner for the city, and I would like to highlight what I find compelling about the overall vision for Las Vegas’ private cellular network deployment, as well as NTT’s involvement.
NTT’s partnership with Las Vegas
NTT announced its private networking involvement with the City of Las Vegas at Mobile World Congress America 2022. It was fitting, given that the event recently moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. From my perspective, Las Vegas provides an excellent incubation and test-bed environment for private networking, given its expansive convention space and all the tourism fueled by the casino gambling industry. The partnership between NTT and Las Vegas dates to 2018—at the beginning of 5G deployment efforts. The partnership kicked off with the city using NTT-branded Smart Solutions to improve safety, situational awareness, traffic congestion and wrong-way driving using IoT sensors.
Today these efforts are greatly expanded, and the municipal government has a vision to deploy and operate the most extensive private 5G network in the United States. The goal is to create an open platform available to businesses and governmental and educational institutions to facilitate enhanced services for citizens and visitors alike. NTT is instrumental in making this a reality by providing infrastructure that can be customized to accommodate both existing and new applications.
In this context, NTT’s investment in Celona, a private networking-in-a-box solution provider, is also paying dividends. It brings Celona's strength in LTE and 5G private networking orchestration and management to the forefront, allowing Las Vegas to manage its cellular infrastructure much like a Wi-Fi deployment. Celona positions type of deployment as a “5G LAN.” If you’d like to know more about Celona, take a look at this analysis I wrote a little while back.
Compelling 5G use cases
Use cases can vary in smart-city deployments based on priority and need. My conversations with Sherwood made it clear that the City of Las Vegas is focused initially on three areas:
- Improving remote learning connectivity and applications
- Bolstering security through intelligent monitoring and lighting systems in parks, event venues and traffic-congested areas
- Delivering robust connectivity for residents, including broadband access for disadvantaged parts of the city and access to healthcare services such as telemedicine
5G is well positioned to deliver an optimal experience for these use cases, given its dramatic improvements in throughput, low latency and massive device support when compared with earlier generations of wireless technology. 5G should also provide the city with plenty of headroom for future applications; at the same time, it will accommodate tremendous monetization opportunities for casinos and professional football, baseball and hockey venues in the form of neutral host deployments as well as concert and sports fan activations. Neutral host allows venue owners to charge mobile network operators for subscriber access, and activations can include premium, paid-access to instant replay and mixed reality experiences.
Las Vegas is also smartly taking a “layer cake” approach to 5G spectrum deployment for the city’s private networking needs. Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) that falls within the 3.5- to 3.7-gigahertz bands, as well as higher band mmWave for smart-camera computer-vision applications, should provide the city with an optimal balance of propagation and performance. I also expect that Las Vegas will take advantage of T-Mobile’s early lead in deploying 5G standalone, as well as T-Mobile's public, private and hybrid Advanced Network Solutions, which include a smart city blueprint.
Las Vegas is betting big (pun intended) on private 5G networking. NTT is helping the city on its journey, showcasing broad and deep capabilities to help facilitate what is required to realize the city’s vision for a smart city of the future. It’s a model for other cities to follow, and I look forward to seeing what transpires over the coming years. Each time I visit Las Vegas, I am awestruck by another new casino that rises in the Nevada desert. Now, I'll be on the lookout for the next new 5G application, too!
Autor(en)/Author(s): Will Townsend
Quelle/Source: Forbes, 22.03.2023