Building Video Centric Data Infrastructure for Smart Cities

Sep 29, 2021 | Blog

In today’s information age, efficiency is driven by data. We see this with the rise of Smart Cities leveraging video security cameras and other sensors to improve sectors like public safety. Case in point: the New York Police Department utilizes over 15,000 cameras to monitor city streets to improve crime deterrence and prevention. However, the innovation, collaboration, and sustainability of Smart Cities all depend on the speed, quantity, and accessibility of data.

In order for Smart Cities to gather and act on this real-time intelligence, municipal customers must implement video-centric data infrastructure. Aggregating petabytes of data from thousands of network devices requires an infrastructure that is purpose-built for video and artificial intelligence (AI), which is no small task. For this reason, we’ve compiled a few tips for building a data infrastructure optimized for Smart Cities.

1. Create a Unified Platform

When working on Smart City projects, it’s important to design a unified platform that aggregates data from all sensors. Centralizing data aggregation, analysis and archival is certainly a different approach than the traditional tactic of storing data in silos managed by various city agencies and departments. The reality is that without compiling data from all locations, city managers don’t have complete situational awareness. For example, personnel reviewing video feeds from surveillance cameras at an intersection can see how many cars are driving through that specific street. However, city managers reviewing video from all major intersections of the municipality can analyze peak hours for traffic and adjust traffic lights to improve traffic flow throughout the city. Unifying surveillance cameras and other sensors on a single platform improve trend reporting, which leads to better decision-making.

2. Choose a VMS that Maximizes Data Sharing

For Smart City applications, ensuring video and data accessibility is key. This means choosing a reliable, enterprise-grade video management system (VMS) that aggregates video from multiple sites, supports multiple clients, and enables data sharing among all stakeholders. This ensures that data insights can be distributed as seamlessly as possible, from city personnel to police to first responders.

3. Migrate to a Hybrid Cloud for Storage

Data is at the core of Smart City applications. Managing and storing both video and data efficiently necessitates having the right storage architecture. For optimized video operations, deploy a hybrid cloud storage model that uses the power of edge computing, through on-premise, AI-enabled servers. This setup enables video recording and analytics software to run in edge devices, closer to the endpoints, to deliver insights with minimal latency.

The advantage of hybrid cloud models is that they extend the VMS to the cloud where data is transferred for deeper analysis and long-term archival. When customers want to increase storage capacity, they do not need additional on-premises hardware but can allocate data to the cloud for endless scalability. Connecting servers to the cloud empower users to access limitless stores of data anywhere, anytime.

4. Consult with BCD as a Trusted Advisor

Each Smart City project is different, from the number of cameras installed and the analytics deployed, to the length of time video must be stored. It’s not enough to plug-and-play standard IT hardware—strategically designed storage architecture ensures customers avoid latency and dropped frames when real-time intelligence matters most. As a trusted advisor, BCD helps customize off-the-shelf storage solutions for higher performance. Partner with BCD as a video data infrastructure expert with unparalleled pre-sales support and professional services. BCD offers project consultation, bandwidth storage calculations, design architecture, RFP generation assistance and network architecture design. And BCD’s Professional Services include network design, network assessment, network provisioning, SAN provisioning and integration best practices.