Smarter cities through iot analytics

Monday, March 14, 2016

For the first time in history, MORE PEOPLE LIVE WITHIN CITIES than outside them. This huge influx of people means that cities have to be able to find ways to quickly provide services to larger numbers of people, rapidly uncover and analyze pain points in providing these services, and plan ahead to accommodate the continuing migration. In particular, more people translates to more cars on the road. However, one silver lining might be that as the number of cars increase, so do the amount of data their sensors collect, potentially helping city leaders cope with their transforming cities.

In a recent ARTICLE, Computerword’s Matt Hamblen (@matthamblen) wrote on his observations at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona focusing on how connected cars were helping cities become even smarter by turning the massive amounts of data cars collected into actionable data.

This year’s MWC featured an increasing number of automotive brands planning IoT capabilities for future models. One scenario: when a driver turns on a car’s windshield wipers, a sensor sends that data to the local department of transportation, which combine it with weather data to determine if icy conditions may exist. In another scenario, if a car crashes, sensors could automatically alert emergency responders. By learning from the data collected in car sensors, two major headaches of city driving, parking and traffic could also be greatly improved by analyzing traffic flows and using sensors to show where parking is open.

Still, the article warns, cities aren’t like companies where decisions are made from the top. Instead, half the battle will be convincing citizens that IoT analytics will be good for them in the long term, even if it’s initially expensive for them to get such programs started:

Besides cost, implementing IoT analytics to help create smart cities may also be a tough sell to taxpayers due to the traditionally slow speed of IoT data analytics which often take several days, or longer to go through the process of turning unintelligible sensor data, such as those collected by car sensors, into actionable information. Glassbeam’s new GLASSBEAM STUDIO capabilities change this, translating unstructured data and offering new levels of quality insights in minutes, allowing cities to act faster than ever to deal with its many challenges.

While harnessing the capabilities of IoT to improve the quality of life in cities is a nascent market, the opportunities to improve traffic and parking, provide first responder and other services, and contribute to cleaner air are very compelling.