Every year, the plenary meeting of GRACO, the discussion forum between Arcep and local authorities, is an opportunity for public and private sector players from the electronic communications ecosystem to discuss the latest developments in the sector. The meeting on 12 January 2016 was part of Arcep’s forward-looking process, examining the role that the regulator can play in helping to support innovation and digital development in the regions of France. The meeting was attended by more than 250 people who came to listen and discuss the key issues and challenges surrounding the development of smart regions.
As the Minister responsible for Health, youth and sport policy, Patrice Kanner told those in attendance that ‘the smart region does not yet exist’. The smart village concept is still in the design stage, but also a major target if we want to, ‘provide services to citizens, visitors and businesses in every field,’ in an efficient and lasting fashion.
Building smart cities: what networks to use, and what role should local authorities play?
The smart city takes shape through the deployment of smart and connected equipment, which requires joint planning of network rollouts and coordinated thinking on how to keep pace with the growth of innovative applications.
For industry players, connectivity is a prerequisite to making equipment “smart”.
Indeed, if the network side of the equation appears to have reached maturity, the services aspect is still only nascent, and could bring myriad new players to the table.
Meanwhile, local authorities are working to ensure that the development of smart regions does not widen the digital divide.
Within this environment, the regulator’s role could be to support the market’s development by maintaining a dialogue with the industry, encouraging interoperability and standardisation, and ensuring that spectrum resources are available.
Paris: strategic plan to become a “smart and sustainable” city
The city of Paris wants to set itself up as a model smart city, built on three pillars: the open city (public policymaking in concert with residents), the connected city (infrastructures, interoperability of public services, powerful software-based tools) and a smart city (installation of sensors to accentuate public policy management and stimulate the development of projects by third parties).
Tapping into smart regions’ potential: how must public services evolve?
To keep pace with growing consumption, public actions need to be able to incorporate citizen participation and cannot shy away from the new models generated by digital technologies. They must open the door to pragmatic regional solutions. Digital developments represent an opportunity for local officials to deepen their dialogue with citizens, to implement real-time governance, but also to enable citizens to be the co-architects of the smart city.
It is with this goal in mind that the public consultation held on the digital affairs bill serves as a model of citizen participation.
Contemplating the transformation that public action is undergoing today, Arcep Board member, Martine Lombard, reiterated that the Authority wants to stimulate these discussions to be able to lend its full support and that, for this to happen, in addition to networks, ‘we must ask ourselves questions about outcomes, services, applications and usage’.
As the regulator, Arcep will work to guarantee that available resources match the diversity of models underpinning the IoT’s development
Wrapping up the event, Arcep Chairman, Sébastien Soriano, was keen to reiterate the Authority’s desire to ‘fuel debate, hold up pioneer local experiments as examples, and unleash the full potential of the vital interplay of public and private initiative in electronic communications’.
A host of questions surrounding the Internet of Things still remains unanswered, and will be the focus of in-depth work at Arcep. The Chairman announced the forthcoming publication of a report whose aim will be to enhance the debate in a way that keeps all options open, ‘so that every technology and every model has a chance. As the regulator, we will work to guarantee that available resources match the diversity of the models underpinning the IoT’s development’, he concluded.