Smart cities have the potential to shape our urban environments into resilient, sustainable and inclusive spaces.
People talk a lot about smart city ‘ecosystems’ – it’s a word borrowed from the biological sciences with good reason – at their most abstract, smart cities are a collection of interdependent elements that evolve alongside each other. And just as nutrients and energy flows through a natural ecosystem, data and decisions are the lifeblood of a smart city.
This dynamic system has the potential to respond far more quickly and effectively to new challenges than a ‘traditional’ city. The best intentions for the future of citizens and businesses can be seen reflected in smart city (and smart operations) projects.
The definition of a smart city project varies pretty widely. You can dive deeper into some of those definitions in the Smart Cities and Inclusive Growth paper from the OECD.
At SoftIron, we tend to think about these projects in terms of the people, organizations, places, and technologies engaged as part of a smart cities project and the interactions between them.
What does the ecosystem of a smart cities project look like?
- Sensors in the real world that collect data and send it somewhere to get used, and the systems (both humans and technologies) that keep them operational and relevant as sensor technologies evolve. These can range from video cameras with substantial analytics built in, to light/pollution/pollen/weight/motion/etc. detectors
- A backend infrastructure that collates that data into a digital twin, which represents some element of the real world across time, enabling insights via time-series analysis. Ideally access to this data is provided in an open and equitable way, so that projects can build upon each other.
- A set of stakeholders with analysts who use the data to develop models (through artificial intelligence, machine learning, or good old fashioned analytics) for delivering insights to downstream systems based on real-time information.
- A set of application developers who build user experiences or device control logic from the analysts’ models, managing the entire infrastructure and DevOps lifecycle of these applications.
- The set of users or devices that gain insight or direction from the applications that use the real-time models. These users and devices then use this information to change the physical world they operate within.
The ‘distributional’ effect created by smart cities is one we’re very familiar with here at SoftIron – it’s part of how we operate. We’ve been doing things differently from day one, from the way we manufacture our hardware to how we work together as a business. The result is products that are a natural fit for smart city infrastructure, delivering rapid scale and high availability.
The benefits to building your smart city infrastructure with SoftIron and HyperDrive include:
- Flexible scale – Designed from the ground-up to scale out, HyperDrive easily handles object, block, and file: a flexibility that separates it from other SDS choices. Its inherent scalability aligns well with a horizontal approach, so you can expand your smart city services in stages, by adding HyperDrive clusters as demand dictates.
- Dense storage at a low power footprint – At only one rack unit (1U) in height and a low power draw that has offered our customers’ up to a 5x reduction in their storage power consumption makes HyperDrive an ideal choice for edge computing installations, fitting in and staying cool where other products couldn’t.
- Intuitive management interface – When lack of expertise can create a critical gap in service, it makes sense to ensure your infrastructure is not only robust, but easy to manage and maintain. You don’t need to be a Ceph expert to conduct daily routine maintenance and storage management tasks with HyperDrive Storage Manager.
- Protect sensitive data with complete auditability – Smart cities require smart security, and the smartest kind of security around is the zero trust approach. Because SoftIron uniquely manufactures our products from the component level up, we can offer our customers the option to audit and verify that what they receive is exactly what left our factory floor, mitigating the risk of supply chain vulnerabilities.
- Strategic partnerships enable better data governance – SoftIron is forming technological alliances with the best data governance, management and analysis organisations the industry has to offer, bringing the power of those alliances to bear. These alliances include iRODS and Storage Made Easy, providing our customers with a wide variety of tools to govern and transform data in ways that make it useful in the right way to the downstream analysts and app creators.
When lack of expertise can create a critical gap in service, it makes sense to ensure your smart city infrastructure is robust enough to handle a full spectrum of potential challenges.
We can help with that.
Have a look at this video to help plan your edge rollout strategy, and learn more about how HyperDrive provides the ideal infrastructure for your smart city data storage at the edge.