How to build a smart city that will last

One-off smart city projects are rarely designed for the long haul. To build a city that will grow and support its citizens for decades to come, you must identify what really matters and create an architectural framework that supports that vision.

Imagine this scene, 20 years from now: You wake up, open your window, and look out over your city. I can guess that it’s a fantastic place. Note that I said “fantastic,” not “smart.”

From my own future-vision window of 2038, I see Rome. Its bi-millennial history is reflected in every stone. But this future Rome is also a city that works fluidly around me. I live a modern life while being immersed in Rome’s awesome grandeur. I have easy access to services and information. I do not distinguish between what is smart and what isn’t, because it just doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the city and its services provide what I need, when and where I need it.

I expect the projects we think of as “smart” today to turn into something else. Instead of calling out a collection of "smart" features, the city itself will seamlessly evolve in a fluid experience continuously adjusting around me and everyone else. By my expectations, these features will enable cities to better accomplish their mission to provide infrastructure, and to enable business and personal relationships. They should be unnoticeable, an obvious part of what you see around you, the way we take electricity for granted today. 

What smart really means

Current and future smart projects cannot be isolated from their surrounding environments. Smart parking, for example, isn’t a matter of just counting inbound and outbound cars and helping you to find a free lot.  Real smart parking is aware that you are entering or exiting. It interacts with an intelligent traffic system to reduce queues. It informs the restaurant that you are arriving to claim your booked table. It drives your autonomous car to the closest free lot. It charges your credit card and sends the information to your car system for your convenience. It also provides real-time information to improve operations and security in the area.

Moreover, every smart project is unique, depending on the uniqueness of each and every city. The local aspirations, needs, and priorities combine with specific legacy infrastructure and services, organizations, and regulations, defining a unique meaning for a smart project for a specific city and community. Nowadays, a smart city can be a concept (such as Singapore, based on the clear goal of sustainability and livability) or an ambition (like Dubai's aim to be the happiest city in the world). It can also be a way to solve specific problems, or an improvement in the efficiency and experience of public services.

There are plenty of opportunities, and more will be enabled by emerging technologies such as 5G, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. Around these technologies is a vibrant, multidimensional ecosystem embracing traditional players, technology providers, and innovators, with potentially infinite combinations to solve each unique city problem.

Technologies are the core enabler for such transformations, but they are not enough to make something “smart.” It is not difficult to gain additional insights about a service by gathering more digital information from a sea of sensors, or to open up relationships with citizens by providing digital access to the public services. Rather, the "smart" label should be assigned only when technology enables a foundational change, such as dramatically reducing water or power losses, transforming an insecure area into a public garden for families, or improving accessibility to people with disabilities. With a proper vision, a city can become more efficient and sustainable, and citizens' daily experiences will improve.

Are you ready for the IoT?  Here’s a framework that will get you started. 

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Why smart projects fail or fade away

We all can think of examples of technology uses that once impressed us but turned into dust. In the same way, how many smart city projects are likely to survive until 2038? In city terms, I've watched a number of projects disappear, including traffic monitoring systems that collected data that didn’t make a difference, a CCTV security network that didn’t increase a venue’s security, and a public Wi-Fi system that was eventually abandoned. (I’d love to hear about your own experiences.)

When projects are designed to address a point problem, well, it isn’t wrong, but implementation usually takes one or two years or even more. Then the solution lasts a year or two before the technology becomes obsolete or a city’s evolving need turns investments elsewhere. And that's with regard only to technology features. Expect at least four generations of technologies between now and that 20-year point, and 10 or more if Moore’s law is applicable. Other factors working against urban planners are changes in city population, economics, and demography. Regulations also evolve as a result.

A city’s infrastructure, services, topology, and population, on the other hand, can last and evolve over a decade or more, which means the innovation we introduce should last as long. 

Think in terms of city services and how they can change as the city does. For example, consider what a smart garden might look like. You can scatter around Wi-Fi access points and implement a good mobile app today. Or alternatively, you can envision a step-by-step evolution over several years to transform the garden experience into one that you can live in, making it more immersive, personal, and relevant.

Take that a step further and consider something more personal: your house. A house has many similarities to a city. It is designed to reflect you and the experience you want to live. It’s sustainable, but it continuously evolves. It’s intimate, and reflects your dreams, aspirations, and needs. A house is alive. Pieces of furniture come and go, parts are broken and replaced, families grow and shrink. You change, and you expect your house to change with you. However, if you don’t pay attention to how your house is evolving, you will face a mess and be disappointed. 

Now, scale that to the city level and project it over the next 20 years.

You can take steps to ensure that your house matches your vision. Engage an architect who can translate your ideas into a project, considering all of the components and constraints and looking at the outcome, even going beyond your initial ideas (or do it yourself). You might also weigh the advantages of doing minor updates in the short term versus a complete renovation that might have a better outcome. Why not do that at the city level?

Houses and city modernization must also consider specific constraints, including history, city planning, and architecture. You may need to consider elements of industrial archaeology—for example, in Rome, your decisions may be forced by the presence of the Coliseum. City designers have to work around that. Or you may have the full freedom of changing virtually everything, as in the living SimCity of Dubai. A multidisciplinary approach led by the city’s administration has to navigate those kinds of issues. 

Smart city success factors

There are three key success factors that recur in successful smart city projects.

First, create your specific strategy. No city in the world is the same, so despite having similar definitions (smart traffic, smart lightning, smart water, etc.), no smart project or service will be identical. When you scratch the surface, you see different goals, constraints, processes, technologies. So define the frame; it will likely stay consistent for a decade or two as changes are limited by a city’s momentum.

Second, you need the right components. Shortcuts, including fancy or cheap solutions, do not work in the mid term. However, open standards do work, as any city infrastructure has demonstrated in recent decades. Technology matters, therefore be smart and protect your investments by leveraging the evolution of standardsrather than potentially ephemeral proprietary capabilities.

Third, what makes a city smart, or fantastic, is the perceived outcome. A customer of mine summarized this concept: “A city is smart if it helps you.” Components or technology changes do not make a city smarter. And no one can deliver a full city outcome working on its own.

What made your 2038 view so fantastic?

Go back to your window to the future and look at your fantastic city in 2038 again: You can now capture what made it so great. You recognize a clear evolution of patterns that systematically changed all parties toward a common design. The local community flourished by leveraging the development opportunities provided by the modernized infrastructures and services. Pervasive efficiency is evident. You live in a fantastic place, not just a smart one.

Smart cities: Lessons for leaders

  •    Identify what really matters for your city in the next 2, 5, 10, 20, 30 years.
  •    Understand the unique frame of your city and what its future should be.
  •    Capture short-term wins that are aligned with and functional to mid- and long-term evolution.
  •    Engage the right ecosystem of partners to solve a city problem or enhance a city service.
  •    Strategically adopt open standard technologies coherently, with a clear architectural frame.

Lorenzo Gonzales - Strategist, Global Technology and Presales, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

26-06-2019 - HPE

Cas clients

La commune de Denderleeuw choisit Securitas

Le parc de serveurs de la commune de Denderleeuw nécessitait une rénovation et devait être intégré au parc de serveurs de CPAS.

Vous souhaitez obtenir plus d'informations sur les possibilités de numérisation pour votre organisation ? 

24-06-2019 - Securitas


2019 Cyber Security Report: Learn How to Survive Today’s Targeted Cyber Attacks

Bijna 1 op de 5 bedrijven heeft het afgelopen jaar te maken gehad met een beveiligingsincident in zijn cloud

CPX 360 Wenen, Oostenrijk – Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), wereldwijd leverancier van cybersecurity-oplossingen, heeft het derde deel van zijn Security Report 2019 gepubliceerd. Het rapport toont aan dat aanvallers zich meer en meer richten op de zwakste, minst beschermde punten in de IT-infrastructuur van een organisatie, namelijk public cloud- en mobiele toepassingen.

Het derde deel van het Security Report 2019 onthult de belangrijkste trends van 2018 op het gebied van cyberaanvallen waarbij criminelen zich richten op de cloud- en de mobiele infrastructuur van bedrijven. Het vertelt ook waarover IT- en beveiligingsteams zich het meest zorgen maken wat deze toepassingen betreft. Dit zijn de opvallendste punten uit het derde deel: 

  • 18% van de bedrijven wereldwijd had het afgelopen jaar te maken met een beveiligingsincident in de cloud: de meest voorkomende soorten incidenten waren datalekken, data-inbreuken, account-hijacks en malware-infecties.
  • De vier grootste bedreigingen voor de veiligheid in de public cloud: IT-professionals zien een onjuiste configuratie van cloud-platformen als grootste bedreiging. Dit leidt tot gegevensverlies of data-inbreuken, wat door 62% wordt aangegeven; gevolgd door onbevoegde toegang tot cloud-gegevens (55%); onveilige interfaces en API's (50%); kapen van accounts of dataverkeer (47%).
  • 30% van de IT-professionals is nog steeds van mening dat beveiliging de verantwoordelijkheid is van de cloud-aanbieder: deze zorgwekkende bevinding ontkracht de aanbevelingen dat cloud-beveiliging een wederzijdse verantwoordelijkheid moet zijn, waarbij de beveiliging wordt gedeeld door zowel de cloud-aanbieder als de klant.
  • 59% van de IT-professionals beveiligt zijn mobiele apparaten niet tegen mogelijke bedreigingen: de meeste bedrijven hebben geen mobiele beveiligingsoplossingen die in staat zijn actuele bedreigingen te detecteren, waaronder mobiele malware, fake of kwaadaardige apps, man-in-the-middle-aanvallen en systeemkwetsbaarheden.
  • Slechts 9% van de IT-professionals beschouwt bedreigingen op mobiele apparaten als een aanzienlijk veiligheidsrisico: toch kan malware zich verspreiden van onbeschermde mobiele apparaten naar de cloud of het netwerk van een bedrijf, waarbij gebruik wordt gemaakt van deze zwakke schakel in de beveiliging van bedrijven.

“Het derde deel van ons Security Report 2019 laat zien hoe kwetsbaar bedrijven zijn voor aanvallen op hun cloud- en mobiele infrastructuur, omdat ze zich onvoldoende bewust zijn van de bedreigingen waarmee ze worden geconfronteerd en hoe ze deze kunnen beperken. Aangezien er het afgelopen jaar bij bijna 20% van de bedrijven sprake was van een inbreuk op de beveiliging van de cloud, is het duidelijk dat criminelen op zoek zijn naar manieren om deze beveiligingslekken te benutten”, aldus Zohar Alon, Head of Cloud Product Line, Check Point Software Technologies. “Door deze trends in het rapport te bestuderen en te belichten kunnen bedrijven beter inzicht krijgen in de bedreigingen waarmee ze te maken hebben en leren ze hoe ze kunnen voorkomen dat deze bedreigingen hun bedrijf schade toebrengen.”

Check Point baseert het Security Report 2019 op gegevens uit zijn ThreatCloud, het grootste samenwerkingsnetwerk ter bestrijding van cybercrime, dat bedreigingsgegevens en aanvalstrends bijhoudt op basis van een wereldwijd netwerk van threat-sensors; op onderzoek dat Check Point de afgelopen 12 maanden heeft uitgevoerd; en op een gloednieuwe enquête onder IT-professionals en managers op C-level die peilt in welke mate zij voorbereid zijn op de huidige bedreigingen. Het rapport onderzoekt de nieuwste bedreigingen die in verscheidene sectoren voorkomen en geeft een uitvoerig overzicht van de trends op het gebied van malware, opkomende datalekvectoren en cyberaanvallen op nationaal niveau. Het bevat bovendien een deskundige analyse door experts van Check Point die bedrijven moet helpen om de huidige en toekomstige complexe cyberaanvallen en bedreigingen van de vijfde generatie te begrijpen en om zich ertegen te kunnen wapenen.

23-06-2019 - Checkpoint

Cas clients

VITO choisit NetApp

Pourquoi VITO a choisi Securitas et NetApp pour gérer les futurs projects ICT de manière flexible et evolutive?

17-06-2019 - Securitas


Lettre ouverte : Comment investir votre budget IT de façon optimale en 2019 ?

En amont de l'événement HIGH TOUCH - HIGH IMPACT de Securitas, nous avions mené une enquête à propos des tendances IT dans le secteur public. L'une des questions portait sur l’évolution du budget informatique par rapport à l'an dernier. Nous constatons une augmentation du budget, mais la question-clé reste « où investir votre budget IT au mieux »?

Une tendance positive

Plus de 60% des personnes interrogées confirmaient une augmentation de leur budget IT par rapport à l'année dernière. Cela indique, qu'en 2019, de nombreuses organisations sont conscientes de la nécessité d'investir dans les technologies de l'information afin de pouvoir suivre l'évolution du marché. En outre, ces investissements contribueront à réduire l’écart entre les technologies de l’information et les entreprises.

Une augmentation du budget est une évolution positive et elle offre de nouvelles opportunités à de nombreuses organisations. Mais où investir au mieux ce budget ?

Voici un récapitulatif des options possibles.

Une base solide

Une infrastructure de base robuste et fiable reste une absolue nécessité, qu’elle soit sur site (« on premise »), hybride ou dans le cloud.  Si vous devez encore en établir les bases, un investissement en infrastructure est un choix logique. Une infrastructure performante et sécurisée permet aux organisations publiques de surfer sur la vague de la digitalisation et de fournir aux citoyens, clients et entreprises un service plus convivial et efficace (pour l’administration, le patrimoine, l’intégration à d'autres institutions gouvernementales, l’infrastructure, etc..).

Les compétences adéquates

Vous avez déjà une infrastructure solide ? Alors, investir dans la connaissance peut être une autre option. La quantité de données dont les organisations disposent augmente de plus en plus. Ces données doivent être analysées et interprétées correctement. Elles peuvent même devenir prédictives. Cela exige des employés ayant des connaissances en analyse de données, en modèles prédictifs et en intelligence artificielle. La rentabilisation des données permet aux organisations de réaliser efficacement leur politique et d’avoir un impact sur la société.

La sécurité

La sécurité est également un investissement crucial pour compléter l’infrastructure IT. La cybercriminalité augmente dans les organisations et une protection optimale est devenue cruciale. 97% des organisations publiques interrogées pensent que la sécurité des données prendra davantage d’importance en 2019.

Les applications

De nos jours, une approche davantage tournée vers le client et le citoyen est indispensable pour continuer à exister et à apporter une réelle valeur ajoutée aux citoyens et aux clients. Une approche hyper personnalisée est aujourd’hui centrale quand il s’agit de service. Les applications appropriées peuvent aider à rendre cette approche réalisable.

Les services sous-traités

En raison de l'évolution rapide du marché, il est aujourd'hui impossible pour une organisation de disposer de toutes les connaissances en interne. De plus en plus d'organisations externalisent une partie de leurs opérations, c’est ce que l’on appelle « l’infogérance ou les services sous-traités ». De cette façon, une organisation peut combiner les solutions ci-dessus en co-création. Cela garantit plus d'efficacité à moindre coût. 64% des entreprises interrogées déclarent vouloir investir davantage dans des partenariats informatiques offrant la juste valeur ajoutée.

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04-06-2019 - Securitas

Cas clients

Informatie Vlaanderen choisit Microsoft et Lantana

Informatie Vlaanderen cherchait un moyen de combiner les informations concernant les données de construction afin de pouvoir les comparer et statuer sur cette base.

30-05-2019 - Microsoft


Photos Securitas HIGH TOUCH - HIGH IMPACT 2019

Regardez quelques photos de Securitas HIGH TOUCH - HIGH IMPACT

29-03-2019 - Securitas


What makes a financing concept intelligent? Here are five thoughts.

1. The financing must match the business, and not vice versa.

In the face of rapid digitalization, companies are under increasing pressure to be flexible and adaptable. Structures and processes also change, and the departments have far greater input in capital investment decisions. Financing models that may have been suitable 20 years ago have become obsolete. Lean processes and customized billing models are key – they give the finance department the flexibility that it would like to offer its colleagues in other departments.

2. Bringing together the CFO, CIO, and department is more a question of having the right strategy, rather than good fortune.

Turning these three decision-makers into a single powerful unit is one of the key challenges that companies face. This is where being agile has its benefits – it involves not only optimum collaboration on innovation and manufacturing, but also agreement on how to finance them. That is why companies need modern, agile financing concepts, not the term loans of yesteryear.

3. Companies are missing out on potential for innovation by relying on long-established financing concepts.

There is always a certain amount of risk involved with innovation, and risk is the treasury department’s natural enemy. With standard financing concepts, it is rarely possible to strike a balance between these attitudes to risk. Instead, new approaches can provide a long-term boost to innovation. One example is ‘try and use’, where equipment is supplied with a short-term exit option in case the project does not work out.

4. Even non-standard financing models can be managed – with the right tools.

Having a customized funding concept for each project is only possible with total transparency and maximum control. This is unthinkable without a powerful, comprehensive tool for the technical and commercial management of all contracts and services, both inhouse and external. TESMA® is the answer to this.

5. Financing requires external expertise from an independent partner.

To find the best financing available, companies must be able to compare the market and draw on experiences from a wide range of projects. Only few companies are able to do that. That is why a strong partner that is able to work with the CFO, CIO, and auditors on an equal footing can provide a real competitive advantage. But only if this partner is independent and works in partnership with, not against, the customer.

06-02-2019 - CHG

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