Powering Smart Cities Through Connected Devices
Smart city projects are becoming popular world over, with governments and renowned technology firms teaming up to improve the quality of citizen services. Most developed nations today have the best of information and technology infrastructure that can be aptly tapped to resolve many a common problem. Cloud computing especially has come in quite handy to garner data both from citizens and intelligent devices to enhance service levels.
To manage smart cities, Amazon Smart City proves to be particularly effective at facilitating information exchange across connected devices, as in the case of a classic real-time example that has helped Boston city address the problem of bad roads.
The Street Bump program, a collaborative effort of Boston’s local government and Connected Bits (technology partner), uses a mobile application to record sufficient data that helps identify bumps, rough patches and disturbances that people face when driving through the roads of the city. The app is designed to capture data via sensors on the smartphone, which helps the city’s public works department to identify and repair roads and streets that need prompt attention. The large, robust, scalable, multi-tenant cloud-based software-as-a-service platform (SaaS) relies on Open311 API for information exchange and storing details in a centralised repository for use across several cities.
Data Collection from Smartphone Users
The above program and other similar initiatives are primarily driven by large volumes of real-time data collected from citizens. Most of them are smartphone users who can share details via mobile apps or online surveys. Hi-end personal devices with built-in GPS and accelerometer features also help in tracing the movement and location of the users, making data more relevant.
Social media offerings, such as Twitter Firehouse that streams live information, offer city authorities valuable information on the common problems like traffic congestions, delays in public transport systems and other similar issues.
Analysing conversations and information shared across social media to get a pulse of public sentiment also prove valuable when addressing social, civic issues of a city. It is, in fact, possible to use smart cities AWS to assess the emotional state of people by analysing their Twitter messages, as being attempted by the We Feel project in Australia. With infrastructure built on multiple Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon DynamoDB, the project attempts to process about 19,000 tweets per minute (average), analysing emotional language, gender etc., and summarising results every five minutes.
Data Collection from Sensors
In addition to citizen’s data in smart cities, AWS Internet of Things (IoT) -managed cloud services enable city authorities to tap data from sensors on a large scale, and securely communicate with other connected sensors, as well as seamlessly interact with the cloud to deliver prompt and effective services. Sensors can prove particularly useful in combating pollution and natural calamities in a timely and efficient manner.
With the capabilities of technology, rapidly-evolving technology firms willing to partner government initiatives, and citizens having easy access to latest devices, managing smart cities AWS through connected devices is no longer science fiction.