Research by Gartner predicts a 30% rise in connected “things” to 6.4 billion devices in 2016.

These machine to machine (M2M) devices, networked into the Internet of Things (IoT), are starting to appear in urban, industrial and city environments – from security cameras and utility-monitoring sensors, to ticket barriers at stations and healthcare equipment in hospitals.

All these applications require the support of 24/7 network availability that ‘knows’ what’s happening.

Installing devices such as IP cameras and security sensors at key assets and infrastructure across an urban area is straightforward, but the challenge is two-fold. Firstly, guaranteeing continuous, real-time communication.

In the event of a partial network failure, intelligent routing has to be able to mitigate the impact while ensuring that critical assets remain operational.

There are now ‘smart’ network switches, or in other words application aware switches, that carry and deliver data across Application Fluent Networks. They have the added value of being able to prioritise users, devices and applications depending on the situation – normal day-to-day or emergency.

The network infrastructure should be capable of enduring challenging conditions such as outages, heavy demand, changing temperatures and harsh weather.

But in the event of partial network failure, intelligent routing and prioritisation have to be able to mitigate the impact while ensuring that critical safety and security assets remain operational.

Utility grids, public lighting and transport systems are just some of the areas that are realising cost efficiencies and safety benefits from the introduction of smart technology and automation.

Embedding sensors in IoT systems means organisations can start to build intelligent networks across entire cities and regions. These sensors allow the real time monitoring of utility asset.

All these individual advancements are driving an overall trend towards greater energy efficiency within cities, a target which is of increasing importance due to growing global warming concerns.