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Top 5 ways AI and data are powering the smart cities of the future

Top 5 ways AI and data are powering the smart cities of the future
With more dense populations and a need to maintain a higher quality of life, cities are looking to leverage advancements in technology to make themselves safer and more efficient.
The world we live in is becoming more and more urbanized by the year. According to a 2009 study by the United Nations, 1.3 million people move into cities every week, and by 2040, 65 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. The growing pains felt by these urban centers can be seen across a number of indicators, from rising crime rates to increased traffic. With more dense populations and a need to maintain a higher quality of life, cities are looking to leverage advancements in technology to make themselves safer and more efficient.

Smart cities have positioned themselves as the answer to our urban woes, doing so by collecting information from a variety of sensors to manage assets and resources more efficiently than ever before. One of the largest focuses for smart cities is reducing crime, securing public spaces and safeguarding residents from threats. At the center of it all is data, which is continuously being gathered, analyzed and utilized to better address the issues large cities face.

While data powers all aspects of smart city operations, its significance is especially seen in security and surveillance projects. With the advent of HD and 4K video quality, cameras are collecting more data than ever before. According to research firm IHS Markit, the global city surveillance market surpassed US$3 billion in 2017 and is forecasted to grow at an average annual rate of 14.6 percent from 2016 - 2021. This demand has been fueled by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) applications for surveillance and security devices.

Here are a few examples of how smart surveillance and IoT devices are influencing smart cities based on insights from the McKinsey Global Institute 2018 report, Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a More Livable Future.

1) Security – Body-worn cameras, advanced surveillance cameras with analytics, gunshot detectors and home security systems are some of the notable devices being deployed across smart cities to enhance security operations. These sensors enable real-time crime mapping and predictive policing, which can help to reduce assault, robbery, and burglary incidents by 30 to 40 percent, according to the McKinsey report.

2) Health care – IoT devices are being utilized to provide remote patient monitoring, providing real-time alerts to staff who can take actions before the situation escalates to a crisis, helping to lower mortality rates.

3) Mobility – Intelligent street lights are optimizing routes based on traffic patterns. As a result, roads are made safer, commutes are shortened, and emergency response times are reduced by as much as 20 to 35 percent as stated by the McKinsey report.

4) Energy – Smart meters allow for more frequent readings and home energy consumption tracking, providing families with information that can be used to make lifestyle adjustments to lower utility bills.

5) Economic development, housing and community engagement – Platforms are becoming available to the public providing helpful information, such as roadblocks to steer away from and disturbances to be aware of, and inviting incident reporting, such as for vandalism. The result is enhanced safety and community engagement.

While significant improvements are being made to everyday life functions, all of this data collection has created a substantial demand for more storage. Surveillance video quality paired with lengthier storage lifecycles, is placing a large workload on the data storage devices behind the sensors. Simply put, smart city solutions are only as good as the data that they store, analyze and deliver in a timely manner.

If one thing is for sure, it’s that reliability is key when it comes to our city surveillance data storage devices. Without reliable video storage, surveillance systems can experience lapses in footage or lose video altogether, hampering crime investigations and data analysis for deep learning purposes. Fortunately, there are new solutions emerging in the marketplace that optimize video storage capacity, reliability and performance. A prime example is Seagate Technology’s SkyHawk surveillance drives.

Unlike typical data storage solutions, Seagate SkyHawk surveillance drives are tuned for 24/7 workloads, and feature ImagePerfect firmware, helping to minimize dropped frames to enable smooth, clear video streaming.

All in all, video storage solutions are the heartbeat of smart city surveillance applications, enabling recordings, data retention, predictive analytics and real-time alerts. As the unsung hero of city surveillance and AI applications, data — the recording, storage, deep learning and delivery of critical information — is powering tomorrow’s smart cities.
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