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Smarter Collaboration for Smarter Cities

February 15, 2017 by Pat Bakey

Advancements in analytics and artificial intelligence have allowed cities to become more efficient and autonomous than ever. As a result, the concept of a “smart city” has transformed from simple traffic cameras and motion sensors to a real-time grid capable of generating insights from traffic patterns and foot traffic – elements of a live connected sity.

However, outdated infrastructure can present a significant hurdle on the path to realizing a truly smart city capable of generating insights from real-world challenges. For example, spiking global populations have placed a strain on municipal water and power supply – an issue made worse by aging infrastructure unequipped to support this demand.

As a result, city officials and planners face mounting pressure to optimize public services to sustain spiking metropolitan populations (expected to reach 5.6 billion globally by 2030). Unfortunately, updating legacy infrastructure is costly, especially for cash-strapped local governments. To meet this challenge, city planners have zeroed in on analytics platforms as a cost-efficient means of improving existing infrastructure and reinvigorating the complex operations that citizens rely on in their daily lives. Enter Future Cities: the next wave of metropolitan management backed by the Internet of Things (IoT).

As a city that experiences heavy fires each summer, Cape Town needed to develop a coordinated incident management system that fit well within their budgetary constraints. The first system of its kind, the Emergency Policing and Incident Command (EPIC) provides Cape Town with a single, integrated public safety solution that facilitates combined operation and data-sharing among all city emergency and policing departments. It even includes support for emergency and non-emergency call centers, dispatch of resources and even field-enabled mobile devices. For Cape Town, the benefits of EPIC mean quick and efficient responses to any emergency, efficient dispatch of resources and insight and control for the heads of the emergency response services – all things that are critical when nature strikes.

IoT Improves All Aspects of City Infrastructure

Every process – from public transportation and energy efficiency to waste management and parking – can benefit from IoT adoption. After all, connective technologies deliver real-time insights for urban development and management, areas that thrive on proactive monitoring and nose dive without it.

However, transforming existing assets and infrastructure that are cost effective and environmentally friendly requires thousands of individual sensors and processors – each with their unique challenges.

Partnerships Drive Future Cities

City officials, with an understanding of the value of an IoT-backed Smart City, will need to leverage collaborative partnerships between companies that supply the pieces to successfully address the complexity of the Future Cities puzzle.

SAP has been partnering with several major cities to bring this initiative to life. A great example is the city of Nanjing, where SAP has helped maximize the area’s traffic efficiency – a hot competitive topic for any metropolitan hub looking to attract visitors. By working in tandem with separate parties that supply specialized technology and expertise, an end-to-end citizen services management system is achievable.

It’s our hope and our vision that more and more cities “get smart” about their investments in IoT and digital technologies. Together, solutions like these help cities improve, transform and prosper to create a better urban world.

To get a 360-view of how SAP is working with its customers and partners to usher in a connected future, please visit the SAP stand (Hall 3, 3N41) at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

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