The conurbation of Nîmes takes steps to become a smart city

With 39 communes and a population of over 257,000, the conurbation of Nîmes is harnessing the expertise of Axians to respond to the security and resilience challenges that arise in a city of tomorrow.

Laying the foundations for a “smart city”

In 2003, the Nîmes Metropole started to transition to a connected city by installing very high‑speed fibre optic broadband.

We decided to roll out very high‑speed fibre optic broadband in order to make the city a more pleasant, safer place for people to live. To get the network up and running, we needed to bring on board several service providers – to build the optical node itself and the network equipment – while also guaranteeing interoperability, resistance to climate conditions, security, resilience to outages, optic modularity and multicast video stream management,” explained Cyril Yver, Director of Digital at Nîmes Metropole and the City of Nîmes.

Deployment of a network infrastructure

In 2014, the Nîmes Metropole decided to roll out this network equipment across the entire area. The aim is to build robust, balanced infrastructure to operate several thousand connected devices and appliances and secure the networks. To handle the avalanche of new data, such as the images captured by CCTV, Nîmes Metropole has integrated edge computing solutions, which process information as close as physically possible to where it is produced or consumed. However, connecting street furniture, such as traffic lights and CCTV cameras, give rise to a number of new cybersecurity concerns.

“We need a connected infrastructure that is very resilient to the various different attacks it may face to ensure our network infrastructure cannot be pirated and no-one can take control of the traffic lights or CCTV cameras. We chose to work with Cisco and Axians because their solutions offer what we’re looking for in terms of resilience and security,” said Cyril Yver.

At the same time, Axians provides a network maintenance service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thousands of connected devices to better serve the community

Nowadays, there are several thousands of connected devices in the city of Nîmes and its surrounding area – including CCTV cameras, pedestrian crossings, advertising equipment, wifi hotspots, and fibre optic connections in schools. All data from all these sources is processed and made available to users through an app offering a range of information, such as details of upcoming events, local news, public transport and online administrative services.

According to Cyril Yver, “over the next few years, Nîmes will complete its transition to become a smart city. In 2020, we worked on connecting the second bus rapid transit (BRT) line and in 2021 we will continue to go further by integrating ever more connected devices, expanding the footprint and multiplying the various uses.

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