Smart cities are a network of interconnected technologies that communicate, transfer and analyse important data to maintain/improve urban operations. Today, such technologies are required in every urban infrastructure including transportation, energy, economic and social development, traffic, environment, health etc. In the real context, if smart cities wish to operate flawlessly at every level of the private and public sector, it is essential to deploy Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud computing together. In fact, it is being witnessed that smart cities that are embracing both IoT and Cloud together are gaining better results.
In other words, without the integration of Cloud, it is next to impossible to visualise smart cities that can enhance public safety, promote efficient energy consumption, develop cohesive society while possessing the ability to track everything from waste management to congestion.
In today’s context, we delve into the benefits of Cloud-based technology and explore some of the Cloud-driven initiatives that are about to bring the desired change.
Cloud Computing In Smart Cities Will Benefit Everyone
If we explore the applications of cloud computing, there are multiple benefits as to why smart cities should opt for it. When cities develop a digital infrastructure, it not just aids in producing enormous amounts of vital data for public and private organisations but also creates a safer environment. But beyond that, smart cities also need to improve operations, increase transparency and create new ways to connect citizens with cities and businesses. Cloud has its applications and benefits in the same direction. So let us look at some of its advantages discussed further.
Efficient Management Of Data
Data fusion and mining are one of the key aspects that smart cities require to develop. Even for a smart city to come into existence, processing, synthesising, analysing and managing the mass flow of data is crucial. To ensure such changes happen consistently and efficiently, Cloud is necessary. The advancement in Cloud computing supports swift delivery and consumption of data.
Support To Sustainability Factor
Of course, as we know smart cities are nothing without sustainability in their operations, the role of Cloud computing becomes much more relevant. Smart cities are utilising resources that have a definite impact on the environment. To overcome this challenge, cities are exploring sustainable solutions such as enhanced decision-making, planning, design, management and resourcing that work in line with the principles of sustainability. For the same, Cloud computing acts as a spine to provide cities with sustainable infrastructure. The evolution in Cloud-based technology is drastically improving the capability of the internet to provide a wide range of applications and services. Shifting the smart city applications to the Cloud can enhance the way information is utilised while making life smarter and easier for the citizens. Additionally, even the businesses that operate in such smart cities become a part of the sustainable model.
Boost In The Economy
When innovative technologies are created to support smart cities, it ultimately results in the boost of the economy. Mutual cooperation between cities and businesses can attract huge profits. Along with the city, even businesses can leverage the data being gathered. They can comprehend their target population better and provide relevant service.
Reduction In Costs
If cities cannot reduce the operational costs, the whole idea of developing a smart city goes in vain. To create smart cities it is important that operational costs in the cities are reduced and enhanced level of services are delivered to citizens. In simple words, Cloud-based applications and services have the capacity to reduce costs for citizens while delivering better service.
These are few of the benefits Cloud computing has for cities to become smarter. If you want to know what exactly Cloud can do in the real world, have a look at the smart city initiatives discussed below.
Citizens Get To Pay For Their Travel With Cloud-based TAP
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) is revolutionising the way people pay for their travel. LA Metro has a TAP card system that allows people to pay. This TAP smart card system is operated on behalf of 27 agencies in 99 rail stations and on 3800 buses in Los Angeles County.
LA Metro improved the payment options for its TAP card system by adding a cloud-based solution from Salesforce Service Cloud. Instead of investing half a billion dollars on building a completely new system, LA Metro opted for a hybrid approach by integrating the existing payment gateway with Salesforce.
The new system called TAPforce provides one centralised place for people to make payments for their choice of transportation, from one account. LA Metro replaced its customer relationship management (CRM) system with Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Community Cloud supplied by Salesforce. With the Cloud technology, TAPforce enables customers to add funds to their TAP cards/accounts, view travel history, order new cards, and register for new programmes. Additionally, the Cloud-based system also offers discounts while reducing travel costs. It is serving as a one-stop payment gateway for multiple account-based transportation options in LA. This is the first initiative by LA Metro that enables customers to sync their account with their TAP account.
Going Further, LA Metro is planning to connect the payment system for parking, electric vehicle charging, scooter-sharing, micro transit, ride-hailing via TAPforce in 2019.
ASU Smart City Council Innovation Centre (CIC)
Arizona State University(ASU) has collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to work towards improving digital experience for smart city designers. The aim is to open doors to new technology alternatives, reduce costs, develop workforce, and support sharing public sector solutions.
Hence, as a part of this collaboration, Arizona State University rolled out ASU Smart City Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) Powered by AWS. This initiative concentrates on developing intelligent communities in the Phoenix metropolitan area. AWS Cloud solution will aid in solving crucial regional and community challenges. A number of city planners, healthcare officials, and ASU faculty members have approached CIC to overcome challenges related to autonomous vehicle governance, healthcare management, urban resilience and more.
ASU Smart City CIC has unlimited potential to solve challenges related to digital infrastructure. It is a one-of-its-kind innovation centre in Arizona that is working on transforming the state with the deployment of Cloud, AI, and machine learning.
Cloud Service To Test Robotics
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched Robomaker, a service system that helps developers to test robotics applications. The system can help developers to produce, test and launch intelligent robotics applications.
Robomaker is a Cloud-based service that works on Robot Operating System (ROS), an open-source robotics software framework. The entire system consists of AWS services including machine learning, monitoring, and analytics. Together, this system aids robots to stream data, interact, navigate, understand and learn.
According to AWS, the Cloud-based Robomaker has the potential to reduce the complexity and time which goes in robotics applications development, testing, and deployment. The focus is on providing a simple cloud-based resource that eases the web of logistics for developers when they need to navigate, test, and deploy ideas. All in all, it helps them invest their time in pushing out innovations rather than spending months in trying to establish a testing infrastructure.
Robomaker can accelerate the testing and development for both current and rising technologies.