Could managed network services break open the smart city market? The concept of a “smart city” that connects city street lights, parking spots, power and water meters, municipal transit services and other such nodes into a networked whole is a fascinating concept. But do city governments really want to take on the role of paying for the technology to make it happen and keeping it running for the next few decades?
Silver Spring Networks (SSNI) thinks that a managed service could help solve those problems. This week, the smart grid — and now, smart city — networking company launched a new “Network-as-a-Service” offering, promising to take on the costs and responsibilities of deployments, starting with smart street lights, but potentially expanding to a whole roster of connected devices.
“We’re taking all the responsibility of deploying the network away from the cities, and letting them just focus on the application,” Sterling Hughes, senior director of advanced technology, said in a phone interview. “That drastically simplifies a very complicated deployment into a few metrics: is the service on time [and] does the service work when they expect it to?”
Think of it as yet another take on the growing trend of financing and managing green technology projects to help spread their adoption. We’ve seen this third-party ownership model grow to dominate the residential solar PV market. But it’s also being applied to energy efficiency retrofits, plug-in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, customer-sited energy storage systems and networked city lighting projects.