Exclusive: The crucial ingredient in smart city development


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Jermaine Campbell, Senior Sales Manager and Surveillance Segment Lead, Seagate Technology discusses intelligent video surveillance solutions.

In recent years, smart cities have transformed from a concept to a reality, redefining some of the world’s largest metropolitan areas and how they operate. New York, London, Amsterdam and Singapore are all important, global cities that have bet big on using technology to improve city operations.

Smart cities get their innovative power from bringing together previously separate functions, such as surveillance cameras, traffic sensors and footfall analytics, into one consolidated view, which can then be used to improve overall city management and better real-time responses to situations. Through the power of the internet of things (IoT), devices enhanced with artificial intelligence are being used as a force for good, enabling urban centres to better manage traffic, improve safety and provide the public with enhanced connectivity while out and about.

COVID-19 has taught us many lessons: it’s shown how easily viruses can spread between people if the correct precautions are not taken and how much urban environments can change as the boundaries between work and home shift. Video analytics have become an important technology in enabling these changes to happen and helping people go about their lives in safety during a pandemic. When tracking critical data points, such as mask-wearing and core body temperature, the importance of using connected cameras cannot be overstated, enabling data systems to effectively create a statistics-based narrative in ways that humans are unable to.

Smart cities also present certain technological challenges. All these technologies fundamentally rely on video surveillance from IoT connected cameras, which can generate terabytes of data, as they need to run 24×7/365 days a year. All that data must be stored, accessed and analysed to find the patterns and suggest responses. Suddenly, video analytics and data management have become the crucial ingredients for smart city development.

Emergent solutions for smart cities

Deploying the right combination of front-line functions and backend support, such as intelligent camera systems, will serve as the bedrock of effective, connected video capture and advanced analysis architecture. This is the cornerstone of any smart city project – adaptable, intelligent camera systems. In developing the infrastructure that both helps address current needs and evolving issues, governments, local authorities and businesses must invest in customisable, AI-driven video solutions.

This is especially important given the skyrocketing quality of video surveillance footage. With the advent of HD and 4K video quality, cameras are collecting more data than ever before. According to research firm Mordor Intelligence, the global video surveillance market surpassed US$52.45 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach US$90 billion by 2026. This demand has been fuelled by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) applications for surveillance and security devices.

To keep track of all this data, cities must deploy reliable end-to-end secure data management solutions across all endpoints, servers, stores and AI applications to ensure video data is both available for analysis to the right people and protected from security breaches. IT architects must consider several factors as specific storage deployments will vary greatly, according to required scale and precise use cases.

Network video recording (NVR) servers are an important technology that cities should invest in to stay ahead of the curve. These provide high-performance scalability to cities to help meet collection and analysis requirements. These servers incorporate hard drives designed to manage AI workloads, reduce latency and supply capacity to handle growing video data volumes.

Rethinking data

Effective data collection, storage and analysis are critical to the success of smart video solutions. However, according to IDC data in Seagate’s Rethink Data report, just 32% of data available to enterprises is effectively utilised. With the increase in video surveillance, IoT device and metadata captures account for nearly a third of global datasphere growth, at 30%.

As smart video analysis becomes key to building and operating resilient smart cities, governments must account for evolving infrastructure implications. This includes increased data storage needs, enhanced AI analytics and empowered edge solutions.

Choosing the right partner

In urban planning and smart technology development, it’s crucial to partner with organisations that have a proven record of guaranteeing effective equipment and technology. Seagate Technology has unparalleled experience working in the video analytics industry and has developed a complete storage portfolio of video and analytics solutions built and tested for smart applications as well as security and surveillance. With SkyHawk drives for NVR, Exos and Nytro at the edge systems, Exos X high-performance enterprise storage systems — the company has created a reliable foundation that is affordable, flexible, scalable and secure.

Seagate’s edge-ready solutions are designed to help businesses unlock valuable insights from edge to cloud.​ For more than 40 years now, the company has enabled billions of people and businesses to reach their full potential through precision-engineered storage solutions and pioneered surveillance-optimised storage over a decade ago. To date, the company has shipped over three billion terabytes of data capacity to its customers across the globe.  

Smart city technology offers so many benefits, from improving quality of life to enhancing public security and delivering more efficient urban services. However, there is still work to be done before these technologies can realise their potential. Solid data management and video analytics will be the crucial ingredient in making smart cities and the benefits they will bring a reality.

For more information, visit: www.seagate.com

This article was originally published in the February 2022 edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital edition here.

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