Five secrets to building a robust digital infrastructure

Tue, 2016-07-05 08:49 -- SCC Partner

A city is only as smart as the infrastructure that ties it together. If your systems don’t talk to each other, you can’t get to the meaningful insights that can truly transform your city. If your infrastructure isn’t secure, you open your city up to threats. If you don’t take proper steps to insure privacy, you can lose the public’s trust.

The quality of your infrastructure is critically important to your success as a smart city, which is why I was happy to participate in the latest Current, powered by GE webinar that dove into the biggest success factors. Some highlights are below, but I strongly encourage you to review the webinar for valuable tips to get the most out of your digital infrastructure. — Jesse Berst


One of the most significant challenges for city leaders implementing an intelligent city model is building and maintaining the digital infrastructure that complements physical assets. Using advanced technology can require advanced knowledge and tools beyond your organization, so know how to rely on outside partners and resources for help. As you progress, below are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Find the right partners.
The more you can partner with an established provider who has an eco-system of partners and whose solution is interoperable, the easier things will be. Select partners that demonstrate “open on the top” APIs and “open on the bottom” easy sensor integration. When selecting a partner, consider established best practices and proven applications in civic settings.

2. Determine data governance policies.
Start by updating existing governance policies for data like videos and images. Form public/private partnerships to receive support from industry experts. Create fine-grained controls that dictate who can access data, how much and when.

3. Think about data sharing.
Provide data for citizen use, such as reports on air quality, traffic condition, parking spot occupancy, etc. Protect data for internal use, such as images/video from intelligent fixtures and gunshot detections. Provide APIs to universities, startups and partners for collaboration.

4. Don’t neglect privacy.
Weigh risks and benefits of data sharing carefully, using redaction systems when appropriate. Allow only trusted providers to access/maintain existing rules. Select systems that can completely control access and depth of data.

5. Emphasize security.
Work with technology partners with superior protection and processes. Conduct cyber security tests and make automatic updates to cloud and node cyber security. Adopt security best practices for city users to avoid data compromise.

Digital infrastructure may not be your core competency, but with a smart approach, success is within reach.

For more insights on implementing digital and physical infrastructure in a cost-effective, scalable and secure manner, check out the latest Current, powered by GE webinar featuring intelligent cities experts Jesse Berst — Chairman of the Smart Cities Council and Austin Ashe — Global Product Manager for Intelligent Cities at Current, powered by GE. Learn why now is the time to take a serious look at implementing city-wide interconnectivity, how others are approaching the challenge, and ultimately, how to do it right from the start.