Mobile first and video next. Is your city ready?

Wed, 2015-06-03 06:00 -- SCC Staff

"Mobile first!" is the catch phrase for many tech companies these days, and for many cities. More and more people are accessing the world through their smartphones rather than their personal computers. Since the mobile interface is more constrained, if you can make things work on mobile phones first, then you can easily proceed to versions for computers.

And mobile first is important to chip makers too. Council Lead Partner Qualcomm has been the mobile leader for many, many years, but it's not resting on its laurels. As you'll read below, it is introducing a new processor that may well be "the overall fastest smartphone SoC (System on Chip) on the market." Plus, they are partnered with Google.

So as you are planning your mobile implementations, realize that the typical smartphone will soon be even more powerful and capable. – Jesse Berst


New mobile processors are announced all the time, but Qualcomm is generating a lot of buzz with the announcement of its new Snapdragon™ 810 processor. The processor isn’t just faster -- it’s a key part of a new platform that uses real-time feeds from numerous sensors to deliver a much more immersive experience for users. It’s an example of a new technology that deserves the attention of smart cities.

Qualcomm’s processor will power Google’s next-generation Project Tango smartphone development platform. The platform combines the camera, gyroscope and accelerometer to estimate six degrees of freedom motion tracking, providing developers the ability to track 3D motion of a device while simultaneously creating a map of the environment.

A lot of the buzz is around the real-world 3D gaming the new platform will allow, but it will also bring new life to navigation, helping people to experience where they need to go, rather than just following a blue line.  Given that navigation aids are at the top of citizens’ wish lists, this new platform could drive a huge transformation in service.

If it's mobile first, it's video second

The world of video is also changing fast, which can have strong implications for how cities interact with citizens. According to a new Cisco forecast on where the Web is headed, video is taking over. Or as the Washington Post puts it, in just a few years, the Internet will become "a big video pipe."

Globally, according to the forecast by Council Lead Partner Cisco, consumer Internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019 – that's up from 64% in 2014. Here's another way of looking at it: It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2019. Every second, Cisco says, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2019.

And increasingly, people will be watching all of that video on their smartphones. That, the Post notes, has companies like Council Lead Partner Verizon "racing to expand their cellular networks so that they can deliver video over LTE" just as cable companies are looking to expand Wi-Fi hotspots so people don't have to be home to watch all of that video.

Today cities often use video surveillance as a crime-fighting tool. Some use video to promote tourism.  In the future, video may be a smart way to engage citizens.

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to learn about the benefits you receive when you join the Council for free. Follow @Jesse_Berst and connect on LinkedIn.