In this exclusive interview with InBusiness.ae, Dmitry Okorokov, CEO, InfiNet Wireless explains how wireless connectivity solutions have evolved to the advantage of smart cities.
How is InfiNet Wireless advancing smart cities technologies?
From our perspective and from a wireless perspective, our equipment is set to transmit a piece of data from point A to point B, wirelessly. It’s like a tube of information and the equipment is flexible enough to be capable of transmitting any source of data even combining any type in one pipe be it video, data, internet, intranet data, database, SCADA, telemetry or whatever it takes. The main characteristics are the speed and distance in which we can do it as well as how it withstands the interference and how it is being integrated into an existing or new infrastructure.
We have built several cities with our partners around the world from plain vanilla video surveillance solutions to holistic concepts. In the UK alone, more than 150 smart cities are covered with InfiNet solutions. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we are working on a full-fledged smart city concept where InfiNet is the core element providing all the data transport. So, all the data that’s been accumulated is being transmitted over InfiNet down to a network control centre where all the emergency responses are available. So it’s not just surveillance it’s a lot more than that.
The wireless part might not be the easiest but it is also not the hardest part of the solution. People need to think way ahead and set the core of the networking. They need to clearly formulate the requirements so that five years later when the network is built they don’t have to rebuild it from scratch once the requirements evolve. It should be as flexible and as advanced as possible.
How has this evolved over the years?
A decade ago, wireless connectivity solutions were just about transmitting some sorts of video. And, sometimes it wasn’t even in real time but simply for storage purposes in case something happens. However, today, with faster and more reliable transport systems like ours, anything is possible. Everything depends on the imagination of the system integrators or the city council itself and the things they would like to achieve, from controlling traffic lights and adopting face recognition systems to providing online videos for police cars.
What are the challenges that you are facing as a wireless solution provider in developing smart cities?
Integration is a complex subject. On the one hand, we want to make our solution and product as suitable as possible for a certain application. On the other hand, every single [small city] project that we handle is different from the other, so we can’t replicate one city to another. For that reason, the solution has to be universal. Thus, having the right balance as well as dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to meet the requirements and at the same time being different from the competition are the major challenges that we encounter.
What differentiate you in this market?
We have been operating for a long time. We don’t have to introduce ourselves anymore, especially here in the Middle East. We have proven to be one of the leading companies in our industry. It is not just about the best equipment that we provide nor about the characteristics but everything that goes with it, the support, the quality and the way we deal with a company. Our brand speaks for itself now as a synonym for quality. The company is old enough and stable enough for people not to be afraid to invest and collaborate with us, especially when we talk about smart cities because the projects come in various phases and might take too long. Thus, it is crucial for customers to understand that they haven’t just bought equipment and got them installed. Our commitment is beyond that since we are here to support them throughout different stages.
What is the biggest project that you are currently working on?
It’s hard to say. There are many. All of our projects keep on going, the work doesn’t stop once the project is deployed. Usually, projects come in 5, 6 or 7 stages that last over three to four years, so we either have to upgrade the older infrastructure or simply add new areas to the existing network.
What are the geographical markets that you are eyeing?
Everywhere. The largest markets for us as of today are Russia, Latin America, and the Middle East.