A Cloud-Based IoT Platform for Smart Cities

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  • ICT for improved lifestyle
Communities and individuals around the globe are looking up to innovative Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to re-invent the way they live, play, interact and work and IoT is playing a very crucial role in turning their dreams and visions into a reality.

When IoT is combined with other components like network infrastructure, communication, and security, it takes the concept of smart cities to the next level. IoT makes cities more aware of their environment through the multitudes of sensors collecting large volumes of data from both the homogeneous and heterogeneous systems. The data collected combined with real-time monitoring and analytics enables city administrators to make better decisions leading to better service delivery, better engagement with communities, reduced costs and improved environmental sustainability.

Cloud-based data analytics for smart cities
  • Smart Cities
A smart city is a city that uses smart technology and analytics to optimize city function and drive economic growth with the goal of improving the quality of life of its occupants. In this regard, therefore, smart cities use numerous ICT solutions to deal with real-life urban challenges like environmental sustainability, participatory governance, improved public service delivery, socioeconomic innovation and public planning. Smart cities also rely on ICT to create smart infrastructure, efficient public health, and sanitation. Some of the focus of smart cities includes energy conservation, smart traffic management, smart sanitation management, improved public safety and smart buildings. In order to achieve this, smart cities need to collect and analyze data in large scale so that they can use the information therefrom in decision making, this is where IoT plays a critical role.

  • Cloud-based IoT
In an IoT setup, numerous devices and sensors are connected to a network so that they can communicate with one another or better still, send data to a cloud-based platform. Data from all the devices, sensors and other peripherals are processed in the cloud. The analyzed data are then used for decision making.

There are rapid changes across these elements that are accelerating the adoption of IoT. Vendors are now manufacturing devices that have multiple interfaces and lightweight operating systems that are in line with current deployment demands. The cost of sensors has also declined significantly from over $20 to less than $2 in the recent past. Telecom operators have improved their networks to be able to handle the growing data that is being exchanged between devices. New technologies have also been developed to support IoT deployment, for instance, LoRaWAN and eLTE-M. To make sense of all these data smart city administrators are turning to cloud-based data centers for scalability, efficiency, affordability and improved management of deployed devices.

What can cloud-based IoT offer cities?

Cities around the globe are already deploying cloud-based IoT to reduce costs through smart grids and meters to manage the use of electricity and sensors in water distribution networks the sense and curb wastage. IoT is also being deployed to manage refuse collection in order to enhance delivery and fleet utilization. The application of cloud-based IoT is not limited to that though. It can be extended to smart parking, the health sector, indoor farming, smart building among other things. The extent of use of smart technology in cities can only be limited the imagination of the administration.

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