As the GCC ramps up its smart city ambitions, sustainable IT plans are need to store and secure sensitive data, said an industry expert.
Across the region, smart cities are starting to become a reality– including Dubai, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Holy Makkah Municipality, and Qatar’s Lusail City.
Smart Cities can enhance communication, and deliver economic benefits, with Navigant Research predicting the global Smart City technology market will grow from $6.1 billion in revenue in 2012 to $20.2 billion by 2020.
Leveraging millions of sensors in everyday objects, smart cities generate petabytes of data delivered via networks, with data analyzed by cloud-based Big Data solutions.
“Smart Cities need long-term IT plans and training to manage and protect the vast amount of data, covering storage, security, and backup recovery solutions,” remarked Savitha Bhaskar, the general manager at data storage and protection experts Condo Protego.
“Data must be used properly by the city, while also protecting citizens and fending off hackers,” she stated.
Increasingly, smart cities are forging public-private partnerships, with third party organizations delivering benefits such as utilities monitoring in buildings, mobile apps for finding parking spaces, and connected healthcare solutions for emergency response.
Reflecting the growth in Big Data, technology research firm IDC predicts the global Big Data technology and services market will grow to $32.4 billion by 2017.
In a world where data needs to be accessed around-the-clock, smart cities are preparing disaster recovery solutions for human error and disasters. Mena cities face three times as many natural disasters as in the 1980s, according to the World Bank.
“Data security on public and private clouds is vital, with city officials always concerned about how to keep smart city data anonymous and abstract,” observed Bhaskar. “Smart cities are equally concerned about ‘natural disasters, or hackers stealing citizen information,” she added.
With the public and private sector increasingly turning their physical IT infrastructure to the cloud, Gartner Inc. predicts the Mena’s cloud market to reach $4 billion by 2017, with the public cloud at $1.1 billion. The global cloud market is set to grow from $41 billion in 2011 to $241 billion by 2020, according to Deloitte.
“I’m confident that the GCC’s visionary leaders will demonstrate to the world how smart city technology can lead the way in enhancing daily lives, and making everyone safer,” remarked Bhaskar.