Smart City Mobility

Smart cities, mobility, and the road in between

Big Data for Smart Cities: The Lifeblood of Smart City Services

Smart city technologies are dependent on big data. Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure creates massive data streams that must be tamed, analyzed, and harnessed to create smart city services. Big data platforms, shared by city officials, the private sector, and citizens, help cities transform data into insights that can improve quality of life.

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Big Data and ICT Is the Foundation of a Smart City

Big data systems help manage the constant stream of data that passes through the smart city network. They help analyze city information and provide insights that promote better service and enable collaboration between city officials and residents.

Big data forms one part of a smart city’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure. An ICT system comprises:

  • Collaboration platforms: Provide real-time data while connecting city officials and citizens, using data from IoT devices, road and traffic sensors, and emergency and healthcare response networks
  • City control center: Fuses all data patterns together into a cohesive management system. City officials can use the control center to monitor CCTV cameras, streaming data, sensor logs, social media, and any dedicated service across the ecosystem. By consolidating systems, cities can reduce costs and provide efficient services.
  • Big data solutions: Data from all of the networks and systems provide smart cities with valuable insights into how to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Big data solutions provide an efficient way to collect, store, manage, and analyze large volumes of information.

Big Data Applications in Smart Cities

With an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) system in place, a smart city can take charge of its city infrastructure. Big data solutions can help organize every aspect of city operations—from government statistics, energy and utility management, public safety, to city transport.

Big Data Applications in Smart Transport

A smart transport ecosystem is made up of a network of intelligent traffic and smart mobility systems (ITS). ITS systems enhance city transport by providing tools such as user-friendly transport interfaces, vehicle tracking, navigation apps, and signal control systems. Smart transport systems can manage public transport, traffic flow, and vehicle safety.

Smart traffic management systems can smartly control traffic flow. They can include smart street light systems and smart traffic signals that monitor, manage, and respond to traffic conditions. The smart traffic system helps reduce congestion and pollution by controlling traffic and improving incident response time via a real-time collaboration network.

All these systems rely on big data to understand city transport, analyze trends and patterns, and provide predictions and recommendations.

How Big Data is Helping Leading Smart Cities

Big data solutions for smart cities help provide citywide connectivity and manage data efficiently. Big data drives management systems that provide cities with fine-grained control, insights on city trends, and platforms for collaborating and sharing data.

Big Data in Amsterdam

Amsterdam launched one of the first smart city initiatives in Europe. Smart infrastructure is deployed throughout the city, and new services and technologies are being developed in collaboration with entire communities.

Early on, Amsterdam created an open database using 12,000 data sets from 32 city districts, with data including addresses, land value, healthcare, and traffic. The city was the first to open source its data. Amsterdam also widely deployed sensors and data collection platforms, again providing public access to its data to foster cooperation.

This makes it possible to involve citizens and private organizations in smart city development by providing a collaboration platform around the city’s big data.

Big Data in Barcelona

In 2011, Barcelona created an IoT sensor network that collects transportation, energy, and air quality data. Like Amsterdam, Barcelona has democratized its data. For example, 22@Barcelona is an innovation center that provides access to IoT data and enables startups and innovators to leverage it for new technologies. The center housed several successful pilot projects for city services, and successful product launches related to mobility and parking.

Big Data in Singapore

Singapore announced its Smart Nation initiative in 2014 and is encouraging innovation in the public and private sectors via its Government Technology Agency (GovTech). GovTech uses ICT solutions to create a Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP). Singapore provides enhanced transport services by deploying smart and connected traffic solutions. Singapore has become a global leader in administrative services, safety, health care, and smart mobility.

Big Data Is the New Critical Municipal Asset

Big data is the lifeblood of the smart city. It helps smart cities build digital infrastructure, foster innovation, improve control over city operations, and provide improved digital services for residents.

Because big data systems are so essential to the functioning of smart cities, questions like data ownership, privacy, and security will become rising societal issues. While the critical municipal assets of the past were roads, trains, and buildings, the asset of the future, and the one that should be protected and valued above all, is shared data created and consumed by the smart city.