By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, according to UN-Habitat, posing a number of sustainability challenges including increased traffic congestion and climate impact. At the same time, cities create wealth, generate employment and drive human progress. ICT is an essential infrastructure to address the challenges of urbanization and will be one key technology to address SDG 11: To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Our offerings, proof-of-concepts and research and development activities involve several solutions addressing the challenges of urbanization.
Traffic and transportation
Intelligent transport system (ITS) adds value for cities in a variety of ways to move people and goods more efficiently over their existing infrastructure, including improved public safety, lower operational costs and greatly reduced emissions. Ericsson’s Connected Urban Transport (CUT) is a novel solution that helps organizations significantly improve their operations. By creating an overlay, anyone and any system connected through CUT can cooperate on the real-time data generated in the streets. The platform routes data between partner applications, forming an ecosystem where all stakeholders can see and make use of the data to enhance end-user services. The City of Dallas has been the first to launch a regionally specified system that enables agencies to interwork within the municipality and between municipalities. Further on, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management initiated a program called Beter Benutten to optimize road usage. Under that umbrella program, Talking Traffic is a partnership in which Ericsson has co-implemented a cloud based platform for real-time traffic information. “The Talking Traffic program targets the reduction of travel time, lower emissions and enhancing road safety with cellular-based cooperative intelligent transport system (C-ITS) services delivered to a maximum volume of road users every day.
Fast and reliable networks will be a necessity for the future autonomous transports, where 5G is the game changer. Already now, Ericsson is working with the automotive industry to develop the future of transports. In Kista outside Stockholm, Sweden where our headquarters are located we have trials ongoing with driverless buses.
Environmental Monitoring Solutions
The Ericsson Connected Environmental Monitoring off the shelf solution address air, water and noise issues to provide real-time data monitoring of environmental parameters. Digitalization of data collection through Massive IoT solutions can lead to a better understanding of pollution flows and increase spatial and time resolution in the environment.
In the Digital Demo Stockholm initiative, we are working with the city of Stockholm and several other partners to understand and evolve IoT and water monitoring solutions. In one of the projects, we address resource use and the impacts of urbanization on water. The aim is to develop an end-to-end real time solution for water monitoring with small sensors connected through cellular networks to Ericsson’s cloud-based IoT Accelerator platform. We have now entered the second phase of the project, to develop smart algorithms and water models for the detection of changes and prediction of water pollution.
The MicroWeather project is a public-private partnership with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, the water utility Stockholm Vatten & Avfall and Hi3G Sweden. Together we are turning citywide microwave link networks (between mobile towers) into a local weather monitoring system that can capture and process rainfall intensity data in real-time and offer visual information about rainfall to support climate resilience and early warning systems. MicroWeather covers large areas and measures rainfall intensities with higher accuracy, and with better time and spatial resolution than commercial weather radar systems.
Partnership with UN-Habitat
The largest UN conference in history, the Habitat III conference in 2016, set a roadmap for sustainable urbanization over the next 20 years with the New Urban Agenda. As a result of joint advocacy work by Ericsson, the ITU, and UN-Habitat, ICT was considered a basic infrastructure and enabler for sustainable urbanization. ICT will be one key technology to address SDG 11: to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
In 2017, we collaborated with UN-Habitat, Johannesburg Development Agency and Wits University on a research project that tested the use of a mixed-reality platform for citizen participation in urban design. As part of UN-Habitat’s Block by Block program, citizens used Minecraft to collaboratively redesign a public space in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. These were then copied to our mixed-reality application and participants could see their design proposals in the space itself, using special smart phones enabled with sensors and 3D-sensing technology. Explore more on this subject in our Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility report