Data and the city –  enabling smart cities to thrive

Deriving value from the smart city of today depends on more than having a network of connected IoT devices. Smart cities also need the infrastructure, systems and capabilities to decipher and manage the avalanche of data they collect. 

The true value of data for a smart city isn’t just collecting it – it’s about the ability to aggregate and analyse data from disparate sources to deliver deeper insights and provide municipalities with a fuller picture of overall city operations.

Currency of smart cities

Data is the currency that enables smart cities. It has an impact on almost every service they provide, whether it’s healthcare, public safety, traffic management or helping improve local businesses and bolster urban economies.

Consider this: a smart city can generate 2.5 petabytes of data each day, while autonomous cars generate and consume an estimated 4,000 gigabytes of data every eight hours of driving.

All this means that smart cities are looking at massive and ever-increasing amounts of data, which has to be collected, aggregated and stored to reap the insights needed to improve the daily lives of residents. 

The vast amount of data generated by the widely deployed induction and networking devices is also an important foundation for AI and machine learning, such as smart cameras used to control traffic and ensure public safety.

Being able to turn data into something actionable and of real benefit to citizens is of critical importance if the smart cities of tomorrow are to thrive.

Data sprawl

One of the top management challenges as highlighted in Seagate’s Mass Data on the Go report is the complexities of storing and managing scattered data.

It’s a phenomenon known as data sprawl – when data is hosted across a wide and disparate range of centres and even geographies.

According to the 2021 IDC Storage Systems & Infrastructure Trends Survey and the Future Proofing Storage report, 47 per cent of enterprises use a centralised cloud storage architecture. In two years, that number will fall to 22 per cent. Conversely, 25 per cent of respondents currently have a hybrid storage architecture (a combination of both centralised and edge locations); that number will rise to 47 per cent in two years.

Storage infrastructure is key to accommodating the exponential increase in data capture from sensors and digital devices, but a lack of IT infrastructure to support storage needs for the growing number of smart city data collections remains an ongoing challenge.

A report from Seagate’s Rethink Data report found that only 32 per cent of that enterprise data gets activated or put to use because capturing, storing and managing that deluge can be tricky. 

This brings up serious privacy and security questions – what data is being collected, how is it being used, who gets access to it and who monitors it?

Successful data management requires holistic visibility into data storage across on-premises and cloud architectures and smart cities need strategies to efficiently manage mass data across cloud, edge and endpoint environments. 

It’s important that every data management system can change to accommodate new data requirements and for the supporting data architecture to be agile to meet the evolving needs of the smart city of tomorrow.

Ready to learn more? Our storage specialists are here to help you find the right solution to solve your data challenges. Talk to an expert.

For more information on Data Storage Systems visit the Seagate website.

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2 thoughts on “Data and the city –  enabling smart cities to thrive

  1. “data, which has to be collected, aggregated and stored to reap the insights needed to improve the daily lives of residents” – tell me again why we have leapfrogged to accepting that aggregation of people into cities is a good thing, psychology and anthropology suggest smaller communities outweigh large cities…seems to be more related to the intro of the digital monitoring (read control) measures being proposed worldwide…

  2. Good summary of the Big Data challenges, data swamps and data streams! Easy to get a “cut off meander” or billabong of dirty data

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