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Programmable logic Turning Bristol into a programmable city By Bijan R. Rofoee, Mayur Channegowda, Shuping Peng, George Zervas and Dimitra Simeonidou By 2050, the human population will have reached 9 billion people, with 75 percent of the world’s inhabitants living in cities. With already around 80 percent of the United Kingdom’s population living in urban areas, the U.K. needs to ensure that cities are fit for purpose in the digital age. Smart cities can help deliver efficiency, sustainability, a cleaner environment, a higher quality of life and a vibrant economy. To this end, Bristol Is Open (BIO) is a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City, with collaborators from industry, universities, local communities, and local and national governments. Bristol Is Open (www.bristolisopen.com) is propelling this municipality of a half million people in southwest England to a unique status as the world’s first programmable city. Bristol will become an open testing ground for the burgeoning new market of the Industrial Internet of Things—that is, the components of the smart-city infrastructure. The Bristol Is Open project leverages Xilinx® All Programmable FPGA devices in many areas of development and deployment. The vision of the smart city A smart city utilizes information and communications networks along with Internet technologies to address urban challenges, with the objective of dramatically improving livability and resource sustainability. It is predicted that the smart-cities industry will value more than $400 billion globally by 2020, with the U.K. expected to gain at least a 10 percent share, or $40 billion. The U.K. government investment in the smart-city sector includes around $150 million for research into smart cities funded by Research Councils U.K.; $79 million over five years earmarked for the new Future Cities Catapult center being established by the Technology Strategy Board in London; $52 million invested in future city demonstrators earlier this year; and $63 million recently allocated to Internet of Things (IoT) research and demonstrator projects. Bristol Is Open is leading the way to building a city-scale research and innovation testbed. The aim is to drive digital innovation for the smart cities of the future: the open and programmable communities that will be the norm in the latter part of the 21st century. The BIO testbed is equipped with leading-edge programmable networking technologies, enabled by a citywide operating system called NetOS, that allow smart-city applications to interact with city infrastructure—to program, virtualize and tailor network functions for optimum performance. Xilinx devices as high-performance generic platforms are utilized at many points in the city from the wired, wireless and IoT networking infrastructure to emulation facilities. Let’s take a tour of this new type of urban community, starting with the overall vision for programmable cities. Then we will take a deeper look at how the Bristol project is utilizing Xilinx devices to build urban “white boxes” and to deliver various networking functions. Future smart cities More than 100 cities of 1 million people will be built in the next 10 years worldwide, while the continuous influx of people to cities will grow the number of urban residents by 60 million every year during that decade. The result is that more than 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. Considering also that cities occupy just 2 percent of the world’s landmass while consuming about three-quarters of its resources, the ongoing urbanization presents economic and societal challenges and a strain on the urban infrastructure. Growing cities will have to deal with a variety of challenges to maintain economic advancement, environmental sustainability and social resiliency. The solution is to make cities smarter. Although there is no absolute definition for smart cities, there are a number of key aspects widely recognized for a smart city’s operations. They include: • Citizen-centric service delivery,which involves placing the citizen’s needs at the forefront. • Transparency of outcomes/performance to enable citizens to compare and critique performance, establishment by establishment and borough by borough. • An intelligent physical infrastructure, enabling service providers to manage service delivery, data gathering and data analyzing effectively. • A modern digital, secure and open software infrastructure, to allow citizens to access the information they need, when they need it. Technological enablers for smart cities are inspired by the Internet of Things, a market that, according to Gartner, will grow to 26 billion units installed as of 2020. That total represents an almost thirtyfold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009, with the revenue from technologies and services exceeding $300 billion. Smart cities deploy IoT technologies on a wide scale, enabling data gathering from sensors and things present in the ecosystem, pushing them for analysis and feeding back commands to actuators, which will control city functions. From sensing and analysis, information passes back to actuators in the city infrastructure to control operations dynamically. This arrangement is an enabler for driverless cars using smart transport facilities; greater power efficiency thanks to smart lighting; the management of network resources for different times (daily and seasonal changes); the movement of resources depending on occasions such as sports events, which require Bijan R. Rofoee is Senior Network Engineer at Bristol Is Open - Bijan.Rofoee@bristol.ac.uk Mayur Channegowda is Chief Scientist, SDN at Zeetta Networks - www.zeetta.com Shuping Peng is Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and Chief Scientist for Virtualization at Zeetta Networks George Zervas is Professor of High-Performance Networks at the University of Bristol – www.bristol.ac.uk Dimitra Simeonidou is CTO at Bristol Is Open and Professor of High-Performance Networks at the University of Bristol 42 Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


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