Smart Cities Need a Smart Infrastructure

September 12, 2018 | Posted by

The concept of smart cities holds great promise: city officials harnessing the power of technology to crack down on crime, improve traffic, react to emergencies, conserve natural resources and improve the lives of citizens.

But at the end of the day, you can’t build a successful smart city without a proper infrastructure. Many city infrastructures are fragmented and cobbled together, causing scalability challenges that could stand in the way of future growth. Just as you shouldn’t build a vast city with public spaces, neighborhoods, stadiums and business districts without having a strong transportation system, you also can’t prepare for a smart city without having an IT infrastructure in place to support the long-term strategy.

For example, the City of Bogotá, Colombia recently embarked on a project to refresh its complex monitoring system of more than 1,000 cameras and deploy an edge computing solution. Smart cities typically create incredibly large amounts of video and sensor data, and many traditional IT and hyperconverged systems simply can’t handle this. They needed a highly dense solution with a smaller footprint. The City of Bogotá’s security team also needed to view any camera regardless of brand across the city from a single location. This required maximum infrastructure efficiency and scalability – something we were proud to provide through our strategic global partnership with Lenovo Data Center Group through a scalable edge computing solution on ThinkSystem servers and powered by Pivot3 software.

Another example is the University of Central Florida (UCF). As one of the largest universities in the United States with more than 66,000 students and 12,000 employees, they’re essentially the size of a large town. After facing an active shooter situation in which the university was unable to view camera footage from a central location, UCF knew it was time to modernize its IT infrastructure. To improve campus safety with smart technology, the university embarked on a strategic and crucial initiative to consolidate disparate systems, centralize management and support more efficient and reliable video data storage. With Pivot3’s smart infrastructure combined with Milestone XProtect video management software, UCF is able to capture and protect video data from 2,500 cameras and support up to three petabytes of storage, and most importantly, can access surveillance video from any device at any time. And with future growth on the horizon, UCF can also easily scale its infrastructure to accommodate this expansion.

If an infrastructure isn’t scalable, resilient, efficient and high-performing, it will cause endless challenges and roadblocks within the smart city context. Data will only continue to grow, and the city will struggle under its weight. Smart infrastructure is key to building a smart city, which is why I believe that our recent partnership with Lenovo Data Center Group is going to introduce a greater range of possibilities for city planners, elected officials and government IT teams when mapping out a smart city strategy. We’re thrilled to develop a new set of edge computing solutions on their ThinkSystem servers optimized for mission-critical smart city security, and also look forward to Lenovo Transform 2.0 on Sept. 13 where we’ll discuss how to leverage infrastructure for the IoT edge with Rafael Padilla, the City of Bogotá’s independent consultant to city governments, and Wilfredo Sotolongo, Lenovo DCG’s VP and GM, IoT.

It’s not easy to build a smart city, but by laying a strong foundation with a smart infrastructure, the possibilities are endless.


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