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Mark Johnson

Smart, Connected Cities and the Impact of IoT

Is your city “smart” or “dumb?”
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Is your city “smart” or “dumb?” Most likely, your city still has potholes peppering the streets, parking lot meters that only accept coins, and “historic” buildings that are draftier than a Maine lighthouse. However, global trends–from population growth to urbanization to improving standards of living–are forcing city planners and municipalities to deploy smart IoT solutions for everything from traffic and parking management to energy conservation. If you live in a medium to large municipality, your city government is most likely considering how to best take advantage of IoT sensors to help gather data—data that can help them evolve into a city that’s safer, cleaner, and more energy-efficient, and offers improved services for residents, from reduced traffic congestion to better waste management.

Cities can’t afford not to evolve in today’s Extreme Data Economy, where the data is only as good as the sophistication and speed of analysis. As IoT devices and new data sources proliferate, data has never been as unpredictable and analysis as complex. For example, population growth and modernization put tremendous strain on energy generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. This makes a city government’s ability to discover new optimizations from streaming IoT data one of the biggest opportunities in energy today.

Fortunately for these cities, Kinetica provides an insight engine for the post-big data era. Kinetica was built from the ground up as an all-in-one, GPU-powered instant insight engine that uses advanced parallel computing. Kinetica’s hardware scales to process massive data sets in parallel, so cities can manage the complexity, volume, and speed of data that’s streaming in from unpredictable sources–everything from water main sensors, to smart meters, to parking lot sensors. With Kinetica’s high-speed ingest capability, cities can analyze data as it comes in. Complex queries are returned in milliseconds even as the dataset grows, and more nodes are added. This is a critical piece of the puzzle, as typical analytical databases can’t keep up with ingest; queries run simultaneously with ingest will cause the traditional database to max out and crash.

Want to see Kinetica in action? Take a look at Kinetica’s connected city dashboard below, which ingests live streams of real-time data across London, including people boarding buses, renting bikes, boarding tubes, and coming in and out of stations. It instantly translates that data into visuals like the one below. Significant events like traffic jams or auto accidents deliver data that, when visualized, can assist city personnel in deciding where they need to focus their resources.

This demo showcases the kind of extreme data a city can generate, as well as how the Kinetica real-time map widget can display such data. The key functionality of Kinetica’s real-time city dashboard is the 3D capability, which quantifies the different types of events and visualizes spikes in activity. With Reveal, Kinetica’s new dashboard tool for interactive location-based analytics, users can delve into traditional analytics. Or, they can try new things like rewinding the city to a certain point in time and drilling down into different kinds of events. Cities will be better equipped to make proactive decisions than they’ve ever been.

Cities are swimming in oceans of data without knowing how to take advantage of this wealth of information. Kinetica leverages accelerated parallel computing and GPUs to translate smart city data into instant insights. Making this extreme data accessible to citizens, developers, businesses, and government agencies can unleash innovation, efficiencies, and new opportunities. Ultimately, smart cities can leverage extreme data to improve the quality of life of their residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

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