When Smart Cities Meet Big Data

Im­prov­ing ci­ti­zen se­cu­rity, op­ti­miz­ing wa­ter sup­ply, and ef­fi­cient power dis­tri­bu­tion are just a few ex­am­ples of what big data can do to take the smart cities con­cept to the next level.

Voice&Data - - FRONT PAGE - PC Ki­ran vndedit@cy­berme­dia.co.in (The au­thor is AVP of En­gi­neer­ing, Im­pe­tus In­fotech)

ICT has be­come of fore­most im­por­tance in ev­ery sphere of progress and de­vel­op­ment. The ad­van­tages that in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy pro­vides have made its in­clu­sion es­sen­tial in in­fra­struc­ture and pub­lic life. IT has in­tro­duced many fea­tures that make life eas­ier and more com­fort­able. En­hanced com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy and easy ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion are the fun­da­men­tal ad­van­tages of­fered by In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy. Th­ese two aspects have changed the face of mod­ern de­vel­op­ment. The re­cent tran­si­tion of cities to smart cities is an­other con­tri­bu­tion of IT.

One of the in­trigu­ing out­comes of tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, es­pe­cially IT, is the mas­sive and ever grow­ing bulk of in­for­ma­tion. Amount of dig­i­tal data will grow from 3.2 zettabytes to 40 zettabytes within only six years (one zettabyte is roughly a bil­lion ter­abytes).

Stud­ies have sug­gested that data vol­ume in en­ter­prises will grow at the rate of 50x year-over-year un­til 2020. This in­creas­ing bulk is pos­ing a se­ri­ous threat to ex­is­tent tech­nol­ogy, which has proven in­ad­e­quate to process the data. An­other im­por­tant as­pect is, more than 85% of to­tal data vol­ume is emerg­ing from new data sources. This par­tic­u­lar fac­tor is trig­gered by trends such as IoT. Re­search firm IDC has pre­dicted that by 2020, 28.1 bn more devices will be in­tro­duced. Hence, pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of data will be emerg­ing as the com­plex­ity of big data.

Role of Big Data in Smart Cities

The role of big data is fun­da­men­tal in smart cities. Man­age­ment of pub­lic ameni­ties and ser­vices in such cities re­quires a strong tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture. Big data will en­able im­ple­ment­ing a num­ber of sys­tems and fea­tures that will sup­port the ‘smart’ aspects of th­ese cities.

To en­hance qual­ity of pub­lic ser­vices and ameni­ties, mon­i­tor­ing and se­cu­rity are ba­sic re­quire­ments. Th­ese de­pend en­tirely on gen­er­a­tion of in­for­ma­tion and uti­liz­ing the data for fur­ther pro­cess­ing. In­for­ma­tion gen­er­ated by smart devices uti­lized in gen­eral ameni­ties such as wa­ter sup­ply, elec­tri­cal dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems or pub­lic trans­porta­tion must be uti­lized and man­aged ef­fi­ciently. Feed­back in­for-

ma­tion sys­tems and plat­forms ded­i­cated to pub­lic is­sues and griev­ances is an­other as­pect in smart cities, which can be en­hanced by uti­liz­ing big data.

Big data re­sources can be uti­lized to an­a­lyze trends in con­sump­tion of power by pub­lic in en­ter­tain­ment such as TV and mu­sic sys­tems. Big data can play a crit­i­cal role for ef­fi­cient man­age­ment of re­sources such as elec­tric power.

Achiev­ing the Best Out of Big Data

IoT of smart cities must be han­dled ef­fi­ciently in or­der to of­fer an im­proved qual­ity of life. Mon­i­tor­ing pub­lic ser­vices and ameni­ties will be one of the cru­cial aspects of big data. This re­quires an in­ter­con­nected sys­tem be­tween the gov­ern­ing pub­lic au­thor­i­ties and tech­nol­ogy providers. The ob­jec­tive of such sys­tems is not only to pro­vide smart ac­cess to pub­lic ser­vices but also to cre­ate a sus­tain­able in­fra­struc­ture. The sys­tem should be such that it pre­vents data leak­age and ma­li­cious en­ti­ties that cor­rupts in­for­ma­tion.

As big data re­quires large stor­age and im­proved tech­nol­ogy for ef­fi­cient pro­cess­ing, bring­ing th­ese mas­sive data sets un­der the am­bit of sin­gle au­thor­ity could jeop­ar­dize the process. This would cause un­ex­pected glitches in pub­lic ser­vice. An ef­fec­tive side­way for this would be di­vid­ing the au­thor­ity to han­dle spe­cific ar­eas. Pro­cesses and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties must be dis­persed among ded­i­cated en­ti­ties to man­age gen­er­ated in­for­ma­tion. The best ap­proach to this would be to en­trust par­tic­u­lar ar­eas, wards or so­ci­eties within the cities un­der dif­fer­ent en­ti­ties such as big data com­pa­nies or ded­i­cated govern­ment agen­cies. This will en­sure cor­rect uni­ti­za­tion of re­sources and in­ten­sive mon­i­tor­ing. Fur­ther, di­vid­ing the en­gage­ment be­tween en­ti­ties will in­duce a com­pet­i­tive edge, which would in re­turn foster bet­ter ser­vices.

To pro­vide ef­fi­cient ser­vices in smart cities, a num­ber of cor­re­lated sources of in­for­ma­tion should be brought un­der a com­mon plat­form and data from such sources should be pro­cessed si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Tech­no­log­i­cally, this is chal­leng­ing, as big data an­a­lyt­ics and ap­pli­ca­tions are not de­vel­oped enough for real-time pro­cess­ing of large data sets. In this back­drop, lever­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion from spe­cific sources would be more ef­fec­tive. In­stead of tar­get­ing many sources, em­pha­sis must be on a num­ber of im­per­a­tive sources of in­for­ma­tion, which are more cru­cial to pub­lic life.

Ba­sic facets such as se­cu­rity and ser­vices such as trans­porta­tion and man­age­ment of power sup­ply should be pri­or­i­tized rather than em­pha­siz­ing on lux­ury-ori­ented ser­vices. The in­tri­cate re­la­tion­ship be­tween such aspects must be eval­u­ated by real-time data sets. For in­stance, the power man­age­ment and emer­gency health ser­vices have an in­tri­cate cor­re­la­tion. Us­ing the in­for­ma­tion, elec­tric­ity can be man­aged more ef­fi­ciently to en­sure power in health-re­lated emer­gency ser­vices.

In­te­grat­ing Plat­forms for Data Ex­change in Smart Cities

So­cial me­dia plays a ma­jor role to bring out pub­lic is­sues. As the pop­u­lace is be­com­ing more con­nected to the web sphere through devices, it is easy to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion re­lated to pub­lic is­sues through so­cial me­dia plat­forms. The chal­lenge is to uti­lize real-time data from such sources to ad­dress th­ese is­sues quickly. This calls for a con­crete in­fra­struc­ture aided by big data tech­nol­ogy, which con­nects griev­ance is­sues to re­lated de­part­ments quickly and fa­cil­i­tate ac­tive man­age­ment. Big data plat­forms can as­sist pub­lic se­cu­rity mas­sively.

An ef­fi­cient in­te­gra­tion of IoT, pub­lic mon­i­tor­ing devices, and devices in­stalled in pri­vate premises can act as an in­tri­cate in­fra­struc­ture for pub­lic se­cu­rity. Re­al­time pro­cess­ing of data from mon­i­tor­ing devices such as se­cu­rity cam­eras in pub­lic places, ATMs, etc, can be ef­fec­tively used to re­sist crimes. In­di­vid­ual alarm sys­tems in pri­vate res­i­dences can be in­stalled con­nect­ing pri­vate homes to po­lice sta­tions or med­i­cal cen­ters au­to­mat­i­cally.

Ameni­ties that can be in­duced by IoT and big data are nu­mer­ous in smart cities. How­ever, the tech­nol­ogy must be uti­lized with proper in­sight. Au­thor­i­ties must be open to im­ple­ment in­no­va­tive ideas and judge them with pri­or­ity to pub­lic well­be­ing. Only an ac­cu­rate jux­ta­po­si­tion of phys­i­cal and tech­no­log­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture can di­vulge a suc­cess­ful cre­ation of such habi­tats. Tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture in smart cities is all about IoT, the con­nect­ing layer be­tween phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal do­main. Thus, lever­ag­ing and man­ag­ing big data is cru­cial to tran­si­tion of cities to smart cities.

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