The rise to prominence of smart cities should not go unnoticed. To the untrained eye, you might not realise just how connected your city is and how it’s helping your everyday life. From crossing the road to monitoring water levels, technology is allowing cities to think quicker and act smarter.

Data-driven decisions

A recent whitepaper by ABI Research has revealed that the total global cost-saving potential offered by smart cities stands at more than $5 trillion. This shows how technological improvements to the places we live offer a significant opportunity to not only improve our personal lives and wellbeing, but to also ensure our cities are able to continue contributing to the wider economy.

One of the major areas of technology that is going to shift how we interact with our cities is the Internet of Things (IoT). One benefit will be the ability to use video surveillance to analyse data on large crowds at sporting events The IoT already accounts for swathes of technology and devices operating in the background. However, we’re increasingly seeing these come to the forefront of everyday life, as data becomes increasingly critical.

In an IDC study sponsored by Seagate, Data Age 2025 estimates that by 2025, nearly 20% of data will be critical to our daily lives and nearly 10% of that will be hypercritical. Data is no longer just going to provide simple insights and recommendations, it is going to be making decisions that impact the fabric and quality of everyday life.

Analysis and application

The decisions that this critical data is attached to must be made quickly. A living, breathing city must constantly be monitoring, assessing and utilising data in order to ensure it keeps people safe and mobile.

A prime example of this is in the Dutch city of Almere, where the local police force and parking management teams are using surveillance technology to improve congestion and manage traffic flow. This is hugely important when 20% of city traffic is caused by drivers circling around trying to find a parking space, according to Stuart Higgins, Strategic Lead - Cisco Impact.

While older cities such as London may not be as equipped with new technology like modern cities, such as Dubai, an appreciation of the different ways individual cities can adopt technology is vital.

For those that have the right infrastructure, one key benefit will be the ability to use video surveillance to analyse data on road congestion, or even large crowds at sporting events or national ceremonies. Using this data to spot patterns of behaviour will enable city planners to develop long term solutions to ensure city life runs smoothly.

Instant access to connected devices

By 2025, an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with connected devices nearly 4,800 times per day — that’s one interaction approximately every 18 seconds.

 By 2025, an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with connected devices nearly 4,800 times per day — that’s one interaction approximately every 18 seconds
As access to data becomes the central component to a functioning smart city, the way data is stored has become more important than ever

It isn’t just new-paradigm services such as Uber that are causing this. Increasingly, the ability to instantly access data relevant to many aspects of our lives will drive our interactions with these devices, and industries around the world are undergoing a digital transformation motivated by these evolving requirements.

The benefits of data access is best shown through Project Green Light in the US city of Detroit, where the police department has partnered with gas stations across the city and the community to improve the quality of life within the neighborhood. The result is a strengthened relationship between public services and private businesses operating in the area.

As access to data becomes the central component to a functioning smart city, the way data is stored has become more important than ever. When it comes to surveillance in our cities, the need for not only the technology but the hardware to analyse this data is of imperative importance.

Real time data storage availability

The growth of real-time data will cause a shift in the type of storage needed in the future – with fast, uncompromised access to data being non-negotiable. Data Age 2025 predicts that by 2025 the global datasphere will grow to 163 zettabytes.

The security of our data and how it is stored will be the foundation to any future smart city strategy

That’s ten times the 16.1ZB of data generated in 2016. This increase in data will propel the need for data to be available in real-time to heighten the focus on low-latency responsiveness from enterprise edge storage, as well as from the endpoints themselves. The rise in edge computing exemplifies how this demand is already present.

The stakes are rising and with them, the critical importance of our data’s veracity and timeliness. It is important to identify city-wide data partnerships, architecture, and standards for effective and safe data sharing when developing a data strategy.

Securing stored data

It’s important to note that the security of our data and how it is stored will be the foundation to any future smart city strategy, ensuring that safety, regulatory, speed and access requirements are all met. Securing the data that underpins life as we know it is circular, not linear. Every company that creates, uses or touches data has to have a role in keeping it secure and should be the backbone of any smart city.

What’s evident however is that digital transformation is shaping the surveillance industry and in turn how our cities operate. As a result, data is the fuel that will ensure the impact is a positive one.

People, government and businesses all contribute to the cities of today, so no one can afford to ignore the shift we are seeing. The cities that utilise surveillance data when considering any changes to their infrastructure will ultimately become the cities of tomorrow, not only future-proofing, but prospering in the data-driven age.

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Andrew Palmer Sales Manager - UK, Ireland & Israel, Seagate Technology

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