4 Steps to Ready

4 Steps to Ready

Get your customer onboard with smart city applications

The term “smart city” has created a buzz in the past few years. More than that, the smart city concept is changing the way the world’s metropolitan areas operate. New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle have integrated a variety of intelligent sensors to improve city operations. They are joined by other major cities worldwide—London, Singapore, Montreal and Amsterdam are leading examples.

Smart city applications are leveraging cutting-edge technologies for a multitude of nuanced purposes. They are bringing together previously disparate solutions—such as surveillance cameras, traf- fic sensors, and people counting analytics—to collect information that enhances proactive incident detection and real-time response. Devices enhanced with artificial intelligence are now working in conjunction with IoT devices to positively affect sectors like traffic management (detecting stalled cars, wrong-way driver and decreasing congestion), healthcare (enabling remote patient monitoring and targeted health intervention) and businesses (creating more efficient operations and automating data filing).

While these smart applications improve the urban experience, they are also create specific challenges. They require greater data aggregation, faster data analysis and lengthier data retention periods. Deploying cameras with artificial intelligence that collect personally identifiable information, such as facial images for recognition, also raises concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity. Integrators must be prepared to navigate these issues with end users and city stakeholders when designing solutions for smart city platforms. Here are some practices integrators can implement to prepare customers for smart city applications.

CUSTOMER EDUCATION ON STORAGE

Before a customer considers installing intelligent cameras with advanced video analytics, integrators need to help the user understand how these AI-enabled cameras affect storage capacity and performance.

The daily data volume generated by video surveillance cameras worldwide is estimated to reach 3,500 petabytes by 2023. Add to that data generated by biometric-based access control solutions, traffic management devices, and more—smart cities are looking at a massive influx in data collection. This rapid growth increases the demands on storage solutions. In order to keep up with massive data collection and metadata analysis, storage solutions must be reliable, durable and efficient enough to keep up with mixed workloads. It is therefore crucial that customers update existing storage strategies.

Rather than primarily relying on cloud computing, integrators need to inform their customers about the benefits of embracing IT 4.0 and adopting an edge-to-cloud storage architecture. This configuration leverages an edge tier approach that utilizes AIenabled NVRs to filter and process data on-site nearby where the sensors first collected the data.

As a result, initial data analysis occurs first at the edge for immediate insights and then in back-end environments for further deep learning analysis for in-depth reporting. This modern strategy improves data flow from edge to cloud for enhanced data processing and management.

DATA PRIVACY AND CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS

Compromised data is an increasing concern for national security advisors. According to the Wall Street Journal, “as cities continue to implement more smart technology, experts fear that current security is inadequate, leaving the cities vulnerable to cyberattacks.”

This sentiment is reflected in the recent congressional amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which bars government agencies from buying telecommunications or video surveillance equipment from specific manufacturers with proven vulnerabilities. These regulations, including the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), will require all outside contractors to provide “adequate security” measures for defense information.

For integrators, one of the most important laws to be mindful of is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has proven the most significant data privacy legislation in decades. In effect, GDPR holds service providers primarily responsible and accountable for securing data—while data is in transit and at rest, which is when data can be exposed to cyber vulnerabilities and even breached.

Though implemented primarily in Europe, many regulations similar to GDPR are being adapted for state security legislation, which means, when employing smart city data storage solutions, securing this data is paramount—not only for end users but also integrators.

Any camera, device or sensor connected to smart city networks must offer top-tier cybersecurity measures, like cyber hardening protocols for hard drives and solid-state drives. Surveillance storage solutions must also employ both soft- and hardware-based encryption, as well as secure methods for erasing data.

According to GDPR, in fact, if a breach occurs for an end user who is employing self-encrypting drives, the incident does not have to be reported publicly as the data is protected. Recommending cyber-hardened storage solutions to customers is another essential step to prepare municipalities for smart city solutions.

STAKEHOLDER BUY-IN

When discussing and selling smart city solutions to stakeholders, integrators should emphasize how investors will directly benefit from city-wide improvements with actual scenarios and statistics. A great resource to provide stakeholders with is McKinsey Global Institute’s Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a More Livable Future report.

The study showcases how Implementing smart technologies are proven to cut commuting times by 15 to 20 percent; lower disease burden by 8 to 15 percent; lower assault, robbery, burglary and auto theft by 30 to 40 percent; and cut emergency response time by 20 to 35 percent. This not only makes smart cities quanti- fiably safer, but also considerably more cost-effective.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER

Finally, when meeting with customers about smart city applications, it’s important to consider partnering with the right solution providers–those who have years of expertise for a specific technology. When it comes to safely storing data and delivering data, Seagate Technology is a prime example. Seagate offers a suite of high-performing storage solutions from edge to cloud for surveillance, AI and smart cities applications.

Seagate’s SkyHawk™ and SkyHawk AI hard drives store more than 10,000 hours of video and are optimized for 24/7 workloads in both DVRs and NVRs. Complete with SkyHawk Health Management software and optional Seagate Rescue Data services, SkyHawk drives provide a heightened level of protection. Data centers with servers powered by Exos™ enterprise-class hard drives can aggregate and analyze data from thousands of sensors for unlimited scalability. Moreover, Exos drives and along with Nytro™ solid-state drives (designed for instantaneous data availability) feature built-in SeagateSecure™ features for greater peace of mind for end users and stakeholders alike.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2021 issue of Security Today.

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