Smart Cities: Leveraging Cloud Beyond IoT

Smart Cities: Leveraging Cloud Beyond IoT

To maintain a network of connected systems that communicate, transfer and analyse important data, it is essential that cloud computing and the Internet of Things are deployed together

The concept of smart cities has gained immense popularity across the globe in recent years. Europe’s revenue in this sector is forecasted to reach $54.99 billion in 2025. The overall aim of smart cities is to make the life of organisations and individuals more efficient through the use of digital technology – to improve the quality of life for citizens by implementing sustainable processes. 

Technology-based urban cities rely on devices such as sensors and cameras in combination with advanced technology including AI, IoT and machine learning for data analysis. In order for the data to be analysed, it must be stored in a centralised place that is secure and accessible. After all, six billion people are predicted to live in smart cities by 2045. Cloud computing will offer the digital infrastructure that smart cities demand, with its success in cost, global scale, speed, performance, efficacy, security and reliability. 

To assist the rapid change in information delivery and consumption, cloud technology has evolved from pure technical applications to overcome much greater obstacles within a smart city’s infrastructure. To maintain a network of connected systems that communicate, transfer and analyse important data, it is essential that cloud computing and the Internet of Things are deployed together.

Subsequently, it is evident that smart cities utilising the cloud beyond IoT are achieving better results in enhancing public safety, lowering energy consumption, improved tracking of consumption and waste management, all while creating a more cohesive society.

The Benefits of Cloud

Due to the huge amounts of data that smart cities need to process, proficient management of data becomes highly important. Data fusion is a key aspect that smart cities need to develop, managing the flow of an abundance of data is crucial. The evolution of cloud computing supports the fast delivery and consumption of data.

Cloud solutions are also scalable and therefore are able to meet the demands of busy areas of a smart city when data is coming in thick and fast. Automatic scaling that cloud computing offers to support a magnitude of devices and individual messages, serves to be a critical smart city solution. What’s more, cloud technology is able to process the real-time streaming of all the data and sensors anytime.

Consequently, the creation and implementation of innovative technology to support smart cities can boost the economy. Cooperation between cities and organisations could result in companies and governments understanding their citizens better, as a consumer – providing more relevant services and offering more appropriate products.

The evolution of cloud technology is enhancing the capabilities of the internet to offer a wider range of applications and services. Shifting smart cities’ data to the cloud improves the way information is applied, all while making the life of citizens smarter and more convenient.

Mitigating Security Risks for Long-Term Use

Furthermore, after the immediate utilisation of data to enhance the experience of individuals in digital cities, the information can be stored for long-term use. Historical data is crucial to review the performance and training of AI algorithms. However, this new wave of digital transformation also brings new cyber risks that could fundamentally affect the existence of smart cities. Cloud technology offers the appropriate security layers to store data and ensure complete protection of the users’ information. 

A list of customary procedures for cybersecurity within smart cities has been identified by the EU Agency for Network and Information Security:

    • VPN Implementation
    • Data Encryption
    • Network Intrusion Detection Systems
    • Physical Protection Systems
    • Access Control
    • Alarm System and Surveillance
    • Security Policies
    • Activity Logs
    • Backing up Data & Regular Maintenance of Backups
    • Regular Auditing
    • Shutdown procedures

Smart cities are inadequate without comprehensive security infrastructure and procedures to protect individuals, organisations, and operations. Ultimately, security and privacy need to be at the top of the priority list for any smart city. The Department of Culture, Media and Sports have already generated a Code of Practice for organisations producing consumer-based IoT products – to ensure that products feature security by design.

Insider extortions are a continuous concern as authorised personnel take advantage of their access for malicious intentions. Cybersecurity needs to be updated to advance a Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) that verifies access throughout as well as tracks a user’s activity by monitoring duration, location and time of authorisation. The ZTA system treats each user with zero trust and provides an isolated network to each individual to minimise the risk of abuse of data. ZTA systems also provide protection from external violations.

Many global cities are facing large population growth and consequently a flow of their needs. It is essential for urban areas to optimise their application of resources to produce effective, reasonable, and environmentally friendly services. A smart city should provide an urban environment that delivers a high quality of life to residents while also generating economic growth. The smart city will be fundamental to making the cities of the 21st century prosperous and liveable. Cloud computing provides the infrastructure, software, and security needed to store large data, and access that data instantly – to ultimately provide better service to its citizens.


Dominik Birgelen

Dominik Birgelen, CEO at oneclick

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