May 18, 2020
Member Spotlight: Meet Qualcomm’s Sanjeet Pandit .
Across America, towns and cities are leveraging wireless connectivity to improve their communities and make them smarter. And the next generation of wireless, 5G, will unlock the full potential of smart cities, creating millions of jobs and providing an economic growth platform for the 21st century. Qualcomm’s Sanjeet Pandit gave us a crash course on smart cities and how they go hand-in-hand with 5G.
What is a smart city and how is Qualcomm involved in their development?
Sanjeet Pandit: When it comes to smart cities, there is no one definition. A smart city is one that is digitized and has the latest and greatest technology that improves the quality of life and, at the same time, makes the city more efficient.
Qualcomm has always operated at the crux of wireless technology and innovation, so we are involved in many of the technologies that will be deployed in smart cities. The Smart City practice at Qualcomm is primarily focused on ensuring that the ecosystem creates a pseudo-consortium of partners to deploy smart spaces and domains that cater to the deployment of technology and adoption of new and unique solutions across the city.
Why is it important to work cross-industry with competitors, clients and cities to develop products and practices that are going to make Smart Cities more of a reality?
Sanjeet Pandit: At Qualcomm, we see smart cities as a team sport—you can’t play on your own. A city doesn’t come out with an RFP and say, “We want to make a city smart overnight.” It’s like learning to play the piano—it takes time. There are so many industries and components that come into play, so you have to come up with a plan that caters to the needs of a specific city. Maybe you start with smart asset management, smart surveillance, smart elderly care, and smart schools; then you go to smart transportation. Those things are verticals within a city. When those verticals get smart, the city as a whole gets smart.
When did Qualcomm realize that smart cities would be the future?
Sanjeet Pandit: Qualcomm has been operating on the edge of leading technologies for years now, and eventually we saw that IoT would become the future of all things wireless. Everything is going to connect to everything. We already have refrigerators that can order groceries for you and schedule their delivery at your home.
We also know that 5G is being rolled out across America, and its deployment will act as a catalyst for the adoption of smart, integrated technologies in cities. The two go hand in hand. 5G’s ultra-low latency, high reliability, mission critical services and more will enhance smart city technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation and other wireless infrastructure that will make the city smarter.
What role does public policy play in the deployment of 5G and smart cities infrastructure?
Sanjeet Pandit: Public policy is of vital importance, which is why we are in the CTIA Smart City working group. In this group, we talk about how to work with government officials and how to educate policymakers and others who determine how, when and where we deploy 5G infrastructure for smart cities.
What does Qualcomm see as a priority for municipalities that want to become a smart city?
Sanjeet Pandit: When it comes to evolving into a smarter, more efficient and more connected city, there’s a baseline of infrastructure that needs to be met. Public city Wi-Fi, CCTV and sensor surveillance, smart parking and smart waste management. These are key verticals that help set the foundation for future smart city technologies. This baseline is critical to the start of any smart city.
How important is it for Qualcomm’s voice to be heard within CTIA and the wireless industry?
Sanjeet Pandit: Qualcomm’s voice is so important to the wireless industry because we have always been at the forefront of wireless innovation. We’ve always been among the first with the latest and greatest technology, including 5G. We invest heavily in research and development for future technologies, and it is part of the reason we are an industry leader.
The drive and innovation of the wireless industry is in our DNA, so making sure that people who are going to adopt this technology hear from the source is crucial for Qualcomm. CTIA is the forum where we achieve this. We bring innovators, developers, business and government leaders together so that every voice can be heard.
We are extremely proud to be a CTIA member and we continue to be an integral part of their working groups.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.