4 Steps to Ready
Get your customer onboard with smart city applications
- By Jason Bonoan
- Aug 02, 2021
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
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
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.
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.
Jason Bonoan is a product manager for Surveillance and NAS solutions at Seagate Technology.