What is the smart city and why is cloud storage the key?

Today, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have grown into big business. Throughout the 2020s, Harvard Business Review[1] estimates that these technologies will add $ 13 trillion to the global economy, affecting virtually all areas of the process.

One of the main drivers of the added value provided by AI / ML will come from smart cities: cities that take advantage of improvements in these technologies to deliver improved services to citizens. Smart cities promise to deliver data-driven decisions for essential public services such as sanitation, transport and communications. In this way, they can help improve the quality of life of the general public and public sector employees, while reducing the environmental footprint and providing more efficient and profitable public services.

Whether it’s improving traffic, better waste collection practices, video surveillance or infrastructure maintenance schedules, the smart city represents a cleaner, safer and more affordable future for our urban centers. But realizing these benefits will require us to redefine our approach to networking, data storage, and the systems that underpin and connect the two. To capitalize on the smart city paradigm, we will need to take a new and dynamic approach to computing and storage.

Provide bottomless storage for the urban environment

In practice, the smart city will require the use of vast ranges of interconnected devices, be they sensors, networked vehicles and machines for the delivery of services. These will all generate an ever-increasing amount and variety of data that must be processed and stored, and made accessible to the rest of the smart city network for ongoing tasks and city-wide analysis. While a smart city might not need to access all relevant data at once, it is still possible to access historical data upon recall to help train and calibrate ML models or perform detailed analyzes.

All of this means that a more traditional system architecture that processes data through a central enterprise data center – whether on-premises or in the cloud – cannot meet the city’s scalability or performance requirements. smart.

Indeed, given its geographical remoteness from the places where the data is generated and used, one cannot count on a centralized store to provide the fast and reliable service necessary for the analysis or the delivery of the smart city. Ultimately, the smart city will require a decentralized approach to data storage. Such a decentralized approach will allow data from devices, sensors and applications that serve the smart city to be analyzed and processed locally before being transferred to an enterprise data center or the cloud, thereby reducing latency and downtime. reply.

To achieve the profitability needed when operating at the scale of the variety and volume of data expected of a smart city, they will need access to “bottomless clouds”: storage arrangements where prices per terabytes are so low that development and IT teams don’t have to worry about the costs of sourcing smart city infrastructure. This gives teams the ability to store all the data they need without having to exhaust their budget or arbitrarily reduce the data pool they can tap into for smart city apps or analytics.

Freeing up resources for the smart city with IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is based on a simple premise: users only have to pay for the resources they actually use. Regarding compute and storage resources, this will be essential to economically realize the smart city vision, given the growing need for provisioning while reducing costs in the public sector.

For the smart city in particular, IaaS provides managed, on-demand, and secure storage and edge computing services. IaaS will provide cities with the components needed to realize their vision, whether it’s storage, virtualization environments, or network structures. By being able to scale up supply based on current demand while eliminating the purchasing and administrative burden of managing actual hardware to a specialized third party, smart cities can benefit from economies of scale that have been achieved. the basis of much of the cloud computing revolution of the past. decade.

In fact, IaaS may be the only way forward to ensure smart city data is stored and delivered reliably. While managing the infrastructure in-house can be tempting from a security perspective, market competition among IaaS providers is driving better service delivery from all angles, be it the customer experience, reliability and redundancy, or the latest security standards.

Providing the smart city is a necessity of the 21st century

The world’s largest cities are already transforming to cope with ever-expanding populations and, therefore, their ever-growing needs. Before we know it, various sectors of city life will need to be connected through smart technology to optimize the use of shared resources – not because we want to, but because we need them.

Whether it is social justice, fiscal prudence or environmental awareness, allocating and using city resources intelligently is the big question for our urban centers in this century. But smart city can only be achieved through a smart approach to data management and storage. Optimizing a city’s cloud infrastructure and ensuring cost-effective, quality provisioning through IaaS will be key to delivering on the smart city promise and thus addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time.


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