How do city CTOs and urban planners plan to manage networked lighting systems, autonomous vehicles, and smart metering systems in their smart cities? How can technology providers better respond to the needs of these communities to produce products that will provide an improved state of living for citizens?
For the whole Smart City Ecosystem, this is available through the proper use of Big Data. Data is the new oil according to The Economist. It is the underlying source powering today’s Smart City, transportation and mobility revolution. But how do we unlock and combine the vast amounts of fragmented data flowing from the Internet of Everything and turn it into valuable solutions that radically improve the way we live, move and interact?
In most cities, the reality is that operations are still uncoordinated and most departments don’t work together on a new system or solution. However, cities can enable this process by implementing data warehouses and establish operations centers. There, city managers are able to access data in real time and departments can meet with vendors and each other to problem solve.
In an operations center, the data that is tapped into provides collaboration, situational awareness and swift decision making capabilities, all better serving the average citizen. With the correct infrastructure a city can effectively close out on first and second tier delivery issues using a data fusion pattern. This allows for a variety of data sources such as: video, voice, social media, streaming devices, sensor logs and supervisory control systems and data acquisition (SCADA). Allowing traditional and untraditional data to be fused together to support the mission of the city. Making a Big Data operations center one of the most powerful tools in a city’s Smart City Arsenal.
However, no single organization can make a city smart. Citizen engagement, data scalability and collaboration are pre-requisite to smarter cities. Items likes closing the data loop between vehicles, transport agencies and travelers is imperative for smarter cities and the successful commercial development of self-driving cars. Citizen participation in smart grid and smart meter initiatives is also a must. If there’s no one installing smart meters, there’s no data to be collected and analyzed.
So when the next story about a Google sidewalk city, or an Amazon AI enabled high rise hits the daily newsfeed, it’s best for local policy makers, technology vendors, and city officials to think about how to make it all work. Data will be one big part of the equation. Data will help illuminate the path to attracting capital to further smart city investments around the world.
Big Data will be the essential component driving the smart city movement. The social contract for taking care of citizen’s needs and privacy is underpinned by the smart systems that will provide it. Certain best practices will need to emerge in this dynamic environment. Cities that make use of the current state-of-the-art approaches will be positioned for future success and have the opportunity to advance society forward to a smarter future.