Smart City Management Made Simple

Today’s digital transformation is far reaching and changes how cities embrace technology to deliver an array of services as well as make existing operations more efficient. To align with and adapt to “digitization”, many cities have implemented an array of solutions and systems but are struggling to maintain control because they lack a common management platform.

FNT recently explored the promise of smart cities and smart countries. Now, we want to take a closer look at what is needed to effectively manage all of the technologies and services involved.

Before we dive into this topic, we should first define what a smart city is. Simply put, a smart city administers a significant portion of public service operations and processes through different IT, communication, and internet of things (IoT)-based technologies. Popular applications or services include electronic signage, sensor-based traffic control, and digital parking meters. When considering smaller cities that adopt smart technologies, this could mean significant energy and cost savings and more efficient use of public transport services.

As Jesse Berst, Chairman of Smart Cities Council said:

“It’s okay to start small – but first think big.”

Starting by piloting new technologies and applications such as traffic sensors or digital parking meters is fine for testing their effectiveness. However, there still needs to be a master plan to ensure the appropriate shared infrastructure is in place to power such applications and services, as well as keep pace with changing needs and growth.

Breaking Down Silos

Smart cities have complex needs and require a multitude of infrastructure, including wired and wireless networks, sensors, servers, applications, and data center resources. Each of these resources have their own set of requirements within the shared infrastructure.

Building up such modern city infrastructures can save significant costs in future, but only when they are managed foresighted and with respect to a primary objective: becoming a modern and livable city.

Probably the best way to do so is – despite many other influencing factors – the management of the entire infrastructure and network including a central data hub with a unified representation model in which you can link infrastructure resources, services and underlying physical resources. Without a centralized system to manage and control them, disparate systems can easily create technology silos.

But a Smart City is horizontally integrated to provide the right stakeholders access to the right information at the right time, this means there is a need to share data and services.

Oftentimes, smart cities implement a mix of technologies and IT systems, making it difficult to administer, especially when integrating new platforms and devices with legacy applications.

The problem with proprietary solutions is that they are closed technology silos with different standards and protocols that cannot easily communicate with other systems. As a result, the lack of transparency equates to costly maintenance. Integrating systems is necessary to supporting a hyper-connected smart city and bridging silos must be the primary goal to deliver a frictionless user experience.

Unified Representation Model

Having a centralized resource and data management system in place alongside a standardized portfolio of products and services will create transparency, which will lead to simplifying processes and increasing efficiency.

Combining FNT Command and FNT ServicePlanet to both manage IT and telecom infrastructure as well as provision standardized services is critical.

FNT Command can optimize the interplay of all the components across a city’s active and passive communication network as well as the entire IT infrastructure. The software provides clearly structured documentation and visualization to ensure full transparency across all resources, service hierarchies and associated information within the communications network. As a unified resource and service repository, FNT Command enables access to information rapidly and taking precise and prioritized actions in response. In this way, impacted services, partners and customers can be directly identified in case of incidents.

Additionally, FNT Command delivers integrated management and optimization capabilities for data center resources from the building infrastructure (power, cooling, floorspace, etc.), IT infrastructure (such as networks, servers, and storage), and up to the services (software, applications, and services).

This seamless integration provides an overall operational transparency which helps operators of smart cities to oversee all interdependences in one central system without redundant data management or outdated information spread in different isolated systems. As a comprehensive solution, it combines the management of IT and telecommunications and answers the unique demand for horizontally integrated smart cities. Meanwhile, FNT ServicePlanet will assist in establishing a hub for standardizing service management and maintaining a central product and service catalog. Think of it as your control center for providing the foundation of defining, managing, and monitoring all services and service-related information into a centralized database.

A solution that offers a transparent foundation for applications and services to build upon is necessary for an efficient operation and can become a competitive advantage.

FNT’s standard offering for smart city management links directly to these needs. FNT Command combines seamlessly with FNT ServicePlanet as a transparent smart city management solution and delivers a centralized system that will manage products, services and catalogs, assets and configurations, IT infrastructure, data centers, telecommunications resource inventory, and cabling. Smart cities will keep growing smarter as they think through their strategies with a holistic approach.