Smart City.jpgBy Tara Bal, Director of Communications, APAC, NetApp and Pamela Kerman, Sr. Manager, Global Strategic Marketing Manager, NetApp

Across the world, cities are grappling with new challenges driven by population growth, increased urban density, and the environmental impact of carbon-based fuels. These trends are putting a heavy strain on infrastructure and services, especially transportation, healthcare, and energy management. To meet these challenges, city administrators from San Jose, California, to Rio de Janeiro and from Barcelona to Singapore are turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technology and embracing the concept of a “smart city.”

By 2025, the global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that there will be more than 26 smart cities around the globe, with over half of them located in Europe and North America. Smart cities use IoT technology to embed data collection hardware and software into municipal infrastructure to enhance services and improve the transparency of government agencies. City residents are able to interact with these smart systems using smartphones, tablets, and wearables.

With the growing convergence of these technologies, the global smart city market is expected to reach a potential value of $1.57 trillion by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan. There will be significant opportunities for partnerships and delivery of services across different industries, such as infrastructure development and technology integration, to drive this evolution of smart cities.

Smart Cities Are Data Driven
There are already thousands of networks throughout major cities collecting real-time information about infrastructure. The goal of a smart city is to capture and process this type of sensor data to cut costs and improve services.

In the United States, the Obama administration has announced a $160 million fund to invest in federal research and technology collaborations. The goal is to use sensors and data networks to tackle issues from crime to traffic to environmental cleanup. There are now more than 60 new, ongoing “smart city” projects helping local communities tackle key challenges.

In Asia, several governments are building smart cities that are bringing efficiencies to the public sector. India took the effort to a national level when Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out a national vision for a Digital India initiative that will empower citizens with connectivity and technology.

Racing to Become the First Smart Nation
Singapore has announced plans to become the world’s first smart nation. The Infocomm Development Authority, Singapore’s national technology arm, is creating a “dashboard” to use data to continuously improve how the country provides critical government services, including healthcare, transportation, and resources, to its citizens.

If the Singapore dashboard is a success, Singapore will be the first country to connect its entire infrastructure in such a manner. The smart nation model that Singapore aspires to takes the smart city framework to a national level with the goal of improving the lives of its citizens.

Singapore already collects a range of data about its systems and infrastructure. For example, the country knows where individual vehicles travel through in-vehicle devices. In turn, drivers can use the same in-vehicle devices to pay tolls on certain streets. Singapore hopes to use this combination of transit and toll data to gain a better understanding of how its transportation infrastructure and systems work together. Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority recognizes that its data will have limited value if it is exists in siloes. Rather, Infocomm is seeking new and innovative ways to mesh data from different sources to tackle some of the nation’s biggest problems, such as urban density and an aging population.

Unlocking Data Value in a Smart City
The data-driven citizen services and applications that fuel smart cities are creating a need for open data ecosystems whereby citizens can access information freely and in a meaningful manner. Data management is the key to unlocking value from connected devices across these new smart city ecosystems.

A Data Fabric enabled by NetApp lets IT teams manage and secure information from connected devices across both internal and external datastores. The Data Fabric  helps them to process large volumes of data from a variety of IoT sources, with the visibility and performance needed to respond to a dynamic environment. Our global ecosystem of partners can also help smart city administrators to build IoT platforms by providing the ability to manage data stored on the premises, near the cloud, or in the cloud.

NetApp has strong partnerships with leading technology companies worldwide, including leading cloud service providers, global systems integrators, and hyperscalers such as Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft Azure. We support our partners with data management solutions that can be tailored to the requirements of specific smart city initiatives.

The Data Fabric enabled by NetApp provides cities with the freedom to move their data to where they need it most. It will transform how organizations manage, secure, protect, and move their data across disparate data environments no matter where it lives.

To learn more read our latest white paper, “The Missing Link in the Internet of Things Value Chain: Data Management“.

NetApp Staff