The planning of smart cities often looks a lot like the futuristic cities envisioned by Gene Roddenberry in his epic Star Trek universe. Clean, gorgeous walkways wind through lush greenery. Well-designed buildings decorate the landscape as traffic rolls by at a steady pace.

Getting to these near-Utopian visions of the cities of the future requires a lot of work on the part of city management, building infrastructure and integrating a new generation of technologies that are key components of a smart city’s DNA.

Huawei, a multinational networking and telecommunications company, is betting that safe cities will be a gateway strategy towards large smart city deployments.

Joe So, Huawei’s global smart city initiatives head, agrees.

“Smart city is important to Huawei’s business strategy, but it is still too early to estimate the level of revenue they might generate for the business,” So said in Industrial IoT 5G Insights. “It is still early days and will take time for opportunities to be uncovered and implemented. Huawei sees safe city initiatives more realizable in the short term. Start with safe and then get smarter is the trend.”

Huawei guiding civic leaders towards smarter future

By creating safer cities through technology using solutions like improved surveillance, advanced data analysis, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), and easier access to digital data to aid law enforcement in evaluating a situation on-site, Huawei can move cities towards the type of technologies they would need to support a smart city down the line.

Finding the budget to support safe city initiatives is easier than doing so for smart cities, where much of the infrastructure costs associated are going towards quality of life projects rather than more critical safety initiatives.

With over 300 smart city initiatives in China alone, Huawei sees a lot of potential in the growing market. As these initiatives take form, Huawei hopes to become a big part of their realization. Smart cities are, after all, gigantic undertakings and it takes a coordinated effort between multiple vendors focusing on different aspects of the project to bring it to life.

Ryan Matthew Pierson