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The advent of the internet of things (IoT) meant enterprises and public sector authorities were keen to monitor their whole landscape, including assets, people, and processes, and gain insights into the same. The IoT’s continuing expansion now means an increasing need for centralized platforms for data management, monitoring, and insight generation. Technology companies and service providers have already developed digital smart platforms (or similar solutions under different names like command centers) that can be deployed across industries. In this PoV, we explore how NTT envisioned and developed an industry-agnostic smart platform that has already been deployed on several campus, commercial, and government settings in addition to smart city projects. We go on to detail the City of Las Vegas’ project, and more broadly this PoV acts as a guideline for technology players and clients that plan to build and deploy smart platforms. NTT’s Accelerate SMART data platform is one source of best practice amongst highly charged competition between vendors and service providers.
NTT follows an all-in-one approach—a single platform generates insights across multiple industry solutions and use cases
NTT seized the opportunity to build a solution that can derive insights from the continuous stream of data enabled by the IoT. NTT built the Accelerate SMART platform to derive actionable insights from data sources. The platform supports different data varieties (photo, audio, video, etc.), high data volume (TB, PB), and multiple data velocity (batch, real-time, streaming, etc.). Some of the key features of the platform include:
NTT’s smart platform successfully expanded across smart cities and showcased proven solutions across different areas such as traffic management and transportation, improving public safety, emergency response, situational awareness, and urban planning for the city. NTT has already collaborated with several public sector entities on smart city projects.
Some of the data capturing and insights derivation logic of the platform can also be extended for use cases in other industries. Thus, NTT has started expanding the platform’s scope across sectors such as retail, public sector, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail. In response to COVID-19, the platform can also be leveraged to enforce lockdown (to monitor the movement of people and transportation), social distancing, and other smart city initiatives. Some capabilities, such as enforcing guidelines like social distancing, can be extended to manufacturing (distance among workers in the shop-floor), travel (managing the queue), and retail industries (distance among shoppers) once those activities resume.
The City of Las Vegas’ smart city project demonstrates NTT’s platform capabilities
Las Vegas has improved its downtown public safety by deploying a network of high-definition optical and sound sensors, IoT devices, and micro data centers at the edge. The City of Las Vegas smart platform implementation has demonstrated the growing benefits and use cases of a more connected society and how cities can derive value from these projects. The City of Las Vegas needed to improve situational awareness and responsiveness to public safety issues and drive innovative solutions in areas of mobility and economic development. The city engaged with NTT and other technology companies to deploy a smart edge network of different kinds of sensors, such as sound sensors, IoT devices, and data centers, to support better decision making. The project’s outcome was the improvement of public safety situational awareness along with accelerated decision making and responsiveness. The smart platform can provide edge analytics for actionable insights, which dramatically reduced the need for data storage.
“We’re at that point where cities that learn, understand, and invest in technology will be the cities of the future. Las Vegas is well on its way with our NTT partnership backing us.”
—Michael Sherwood (Director of Innovation and Technology, City of Las Vegas)
Competition is intensifying among smart platform offerings
Several technology players are already competing in the smart platform segment across different industry use cases (such as asset management and smart cities). Service providers have developed an exhaustive solutions portfolio that they can leverage on IoT platforms for insight generation. NTT’s smart platform offering is competing against technology companies (which typically already have their in-house IoT platforms) and service providers. Some of its competition is highlighted below.
The Bottom Line: Smart platform projects must focus on their data analysis capability, security, privacy, and open technology approaches to remain purposeful, effective, and from a provider’s point of view, differentiated.
Data management capability (such as big data, analytics, AI, data security, and privacy) is a critical platform differentiator. We have observed a proliferation of smart platforms from several organizations as detailed above: Both the providers and enterprise adopters of smart platform projects, including NTT, need to focus on the underlying data analysis algorithms (accurate prediction and decision making with very low latency) to differentiate in this space. Data security and privacy are also of paramount importance, not only from the regulation point of view but also from a trusted perspective.