Anyone familiar with the terms 'analytics' or 'Big Data' knows how valuable the data collected from all those meters, sensors and other smart devices can be when it is translated into intelligence cities can actually use to help both employees and the machines they use make the decisions -- the decisions that will improve a city's livability, efficiency and sustainability.
There are a lot of vendors out there with business intelligence and analytics services to choose from. But which ones can provide the specific solutions cities need to turn that data into "actionable" information that will help them transform their city into a smart city?
Council Associate Partner IDC has a new report available that provides an assessment of some of the analytics software vendors offering solutions specific to the highest priority needs of smart cities.
The report, IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Smart Cities Business Analytics Software 2015 Vendor Assessment, features Council Lead Partners IBM and Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and Tableau. IDC found the number of vendors offering business analytics for the smart city sector is very small, and that those companies featured in the report are close in terms of capabilities.
As Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, Research Director for the IDC global smart cities practice, put it "The vendors studied for this IDC MarketScape are among the few business analytics vendors that have specific offerings geared toward smart cities and are addressing the most important characteristics for smart cities. This report will help city decision-makers understand their options more fully."
The characteristics Clarke referred to are:
- Ease and speed of analysis/self-service
- Strength of analytics
- Flexible delivery models
- Innovation and/or co-innovation
Why it's a good time for cities to find an analytics partner
IDC expects the amount of data generated in the next few years to reach 44 trillion gigabytes, an increase of 40% every year over a five-year period. In its announcement for the report, IDC explained where a lot of the growth is coming from: "Much of this growth is driven by connected devices and, more specifically, mobile connected devices (RFID, smart cards, body cams, GPS). Government organizations will need to analyze data created from government systems as well as from outside government. Social media, information from mobile apps and smartphones will become more and more useful to cities as they work on managing traffic, crime, events, etc."
To underscore the need further, IDC found in a separate report "…only 1/3 of state and local organizations agree that their data is currently "actionable," reinforcing the point that analytics tools are key to making use of data which is a cornerstone of delivering good citizen services and improving operational efficiency."
Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.