I contributed a fully peer reviewed original research paper, participated and presented my research work in the 2019 IEEE International Smart Cities Conference (ISC2) in Casablanca, Morocco during October 2019. ISC2 is one of the premier flagship conferences on smart cities and related innovative technologies sponsored by IEEE Smart Cities Community. I learnt the role and importance of new 5G technology which is currently being deployed in Australia and around the world. I also met industry people presenting their 5G solutions for real world. From these meetings and discussions, I learnt global perspectives on the importance of 5G in modern societies.

In this conference, I had the opportunity to present my work on smart cities, 5G and fog computing. These technologies are key building blocks of modern smart cities and are being deployed around the world. Engaging with the smart cities conceptual experts and application specialists allowed me to bring real, current knowledge and skills to my teaching delivery.

What is important about this learning and teaching story?

Fifth Generation (5G) is a new wireless technology that is currently being deployed in Australia. This technology will provide a new level of services such as increased data rates, low latency in communication and excellent quality of service to customers. These promises of 5G will make application such as high definition video streaming, real fast download, real-time live HD video conferencing and virtual reality based application possible for customers. For example, think of downloading a full season of Game of Thrones in just a blink of eye using 5G networks. Given we all will be using 5G very soon and a number of our students will be working with 5G in some capacity, it is important to teach our students about 5G technology. I teach my students in ITC513 about the possibilities of new applications in 5G world as well as technical details such as massive multi-antenna system and frequency spectrum related challenges. Learning about 5G technology will boost the career of our students working in IT and wireless disciplines.

Smart cities is one of the key ideas that most of the advanced countries are using to transform their mega cities. There are many commercial companies that are developing new ideas and features for smart cities for different countries. An example of one such company is SideWalk Lab which is Google’s sister company. SideWalk Lab current major project is to transform Toronto into world’s best smart city. The key features of a smart city are to provide and improve quality of life of its citizens through sustainability, economic growth, less greenhouse gases and affordable living. 5G technology provides the infrastructure to build such smart cities where next generation wireless technology can help to achieve all goals of a smart city. Figure 1 below shows such a conceptual model of a smart city where 5G technology is being used for communication infrastructure.

Figure 1: An illustrative example of a Smart-City-Fog (SCF) model with Fog / Edge nodes and 5G technology

In this research, I presented an idea of building a smart city with Fog computing where the computational tasks are being done close to the devices and users. This is a distributed computing system based on Fog and Edge computing models to provide users quick and fast access to the information they need. For example, a user looking for the information about a shopping centre may get such information from nearby devices instead of going to some centralised place such as to cloud services. This will save information retrieval time and provides fast information to customers. Figure 2 below shows such a conceptual model where different devices in fog node 1 and 2 can communicate with each other within a node or across the nodes to access the information. The devices also have access to cloud services in case they cannot find the information within the fog nodes.

It is crucial to teach students about these new innovative technologies as they will be working in environments where these technologies are important part of their jobs. I teach my students both technical as well as application aspects of these new technologies. Students enjoy learning about these new technologies and discuss various innovative ideas that can be made reality using such technologies. Students are also required to do a research project as a part of their assessment using one of these new cutting edge technologies such as 5G, Smart Cities, Fog and Edge computing. Teaching these new technologies help students in their research project as well.

Figure 2: A general 5G architecture with fog nodes in Smart Cities.

What did it look like?

I teach and coordinate ITC513 Wireless Networking Concepts where we discuss these new innovative technologies. I used my knowledge gained from attending the ISC2 conference to educate my students about 5G, the role it plays and will play in our daily life and the benefits that students can present to potential employers.

One of the topics in my ITC513 subject is on emerging wireless technologies and students also need to do one of the research assessments on these new technologies. My experience and knowledge from this scholarly activity enhanced my teaching of the subject and provided motivation to my students about this new technology.

5G, Smart Cities, Fog and Edge computing technologies are new cutting edge concepts for IT and wireless communication. I discussed with students during online class about these new technologies. I used the base knowledge of 4G and other previous generations of wireless technologies to build 5G concepts. In particular, technical aspects such as new antenna systems, frequency spectrum and base station hardware are discussed in the class. Then I move to applications of 5G such as in smart cities and Fog / Edge computing. I also share my experience of ISC2 conference and the concepts / ideas presented during ISC2 with the students. My class feel very enthusiastic knowing that they are being taught cutting edge technologies that are discussed in international reputed IEEE conference. I also share with them my own research through my article on this topic which can be found using the following link: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9071695