Case study: Mapping a scalable smart-city solution
CASE STUDY View the case study as an infographic! Launched in September 2013, ZTE’s iCityBOSS pulls together data from government, institutions and businesses to offer citizens a one-stop shop for a variety of smart-city services –including the availability of bicycles for the ‘last mile’ – all delivered via a single cell phone portal. So far, the iCityBOSS mobile app has been downloaded 1.2 million times and has about 200,000 active users in Ningbo, a city with a population of 1.5 million on China’s eastern coast. On average, passengers save ten minutes’ waiting time on a 50-minute bus journey plus another 15 minutes from finding a parking space in the city center more quickly.
“iCityBOSS can also meet the requirements of diverse markets and help the local government forecast operational capabilities, so it can provide better public services,” says Chen Jie, Senior Vice President, ZTE.
The open nature of the solution is key to this.
iCityBOSS is built on ZSmart uBOSS, which achieved TM Forum certification as being compliant with Frameworx 13 in 2014. Jie estimates that in its first five months the networked open data solution and big data bank saved the city $163,000 in traffic management and facility maintenance costs, and $1.6 million in possible duplicated government spending, as well as generating $8.2 million worth of value for businesses in the city with new job opportunities, shared resources and lowered operational costs.
Big savings, safer travel, shorter journeys
The Ningbo Government estimates it is saving $4.9 million a year through more efficient traffic management, more effective coordinated actions and by enabling assets to be shared among several organizations. For example, with a complete picture and full overview of the traffic network, the staff in the central control room can arrange and guide emergency vehicles to drive through jammed streets to reach the destination as soon as possible, coordinating with traffic police and hospitals. The multi-cloud platform, which provides the shared data and services for different government departments, as well as other member organizations, is open and secure. The current annual revenue is $2.3 million, projected to rise to $3.3 million in 2015. Around 600 coach tickets are sold every day via the iCityBOSS mobile app and more revenue will be generated from train tickets sales and so on in the future.
“By bringing together multiple social media tools, our product provides a comprehensive network for citizens to interact with,” Jie says. “We actively encourage customers to contribute not only their user experiences and comments, but also information on issues they encounter around the city. Combined with location data and their real-time GPS coordinates, this means we can offer a better traffic information service for citizens, which is cutting the average waiting time at junctions and the accidents rate.”
Combining clouds, integrating data
ZTE used many of TM Forum’s guides and best practices while developing iCityBOSS, ranging from business and customer experience metrics to product lifecycle management, revenue management and partnering guides, to security and privacy recommendations. The company relied heavily on the Frameworx suite of standards-based tools and best practices. iCityBOSS consists of three private clouds – one for the traffic police, one for the transport committee and one for the city management bureau – and one public cloud. Using the Business Process Framework (eTOM) enabled iCityBOSS to handle cloud-based machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions among those clouds. ZTE also used TM Forum’s Multi-Cloud Service Management series of guides and tools to support its cloud and infrastructure management, one of the key elements of the Forum’s Open Digital Ecosystem.
“Frameworx implementation methodology helped us to bring the various services together and provided an established methodology for us to better manage the service development and implementation process,” explains Jie.
The aim is that iCityBOSS will evolve into an operational platform for individuals, enterprises and communication service providers.
“We designed fulfillment and assurance processes, such as customer interface management, order handling, service problem management, inventory and service quality management, which were based on TM Forum’s Business Process Framework,” Jie says.
Guided by TM Forum’s Information Framework (SID), the company adopted a unified approach to the coordination and communications between the transport information service platform for the public and the business operation support platforms for the transport police and transport committee. This was to promote data sharing and facilitate the business operations process.
Better partnerships and products
During the service development process, ZTE worked with a number of partners to meet the diverse requirements of multiple client departments and it followed TM Forum’s Partnership Management Guide, which supports partnering in the digital economy, outlining best practice for both the technology and business sides of choosing, setting up and running successful partnerships. This enabled the company to achieve better partnerships and deliver the end product on time.
“We have been able to build and maintain healthy partnerships with a number of client departments, outsourcers and hardware suppliers throughout the service delivery process. These healthy relationships are essential for future service provision and expansion,” says Jie.
ZTE also followed TM Forum’s Application Framework (TAM) specifications on service performance management, service quality management, service test management, supplier/partner management, and security management, knowledge management and administrative services in the enterprise domain. Then the Integration Framework brought the various services together and provided an established methodology for better management of the service development and implementation process.
Following the Product Lifecycle Management pack enabled the company to reduce operating cost, improve process efficiency and product quality, and cut the time to market. The Maturity Model enabled it to benefit in terms of product portfolio management and collaborative development, as well as achieving program and functional excellence. In addition, it adopted the set of social media metrics, Customer Experience Maturity Matrix and key capability indicators specified in the Forum’s Customer Experience Management Solution Suite as the guide to measure, manage and improve customer experiences. The Big Data Analytics Guidebook also helped with product development, for example for traffic data collection, mining and future events prediction. Smart city is a broad market including education, medical, energy, infrastructure, government services etc., and uBOSS has proved itself able to handle the complexities and interchanges between those sectors. The modular development and standardized structure provide a solid base to support various businesses, and provide profound services for the client and users. The current solution principally serves the transport sector, but in the near future ZTE plans to extend support to other sectors, such as education, health and energy.
“Using TM Forum standards has enabled us to not only extend the reach of ZSmart uBOSS from the traditional telecommunications industry to a much wider and more extensive range of businesses, but it has also helped us gain competitive advantage,” Jie says.